Blowing hot and cold on wind power
3 Jul 2012
EDDIE O'CONNOR Letters
Sir, - Further to Mike de Jong's letter (June 29th), Mainstream Renewable Power has proposed using wind power generated in Ireland to meet the UK's need for renewable energy. Ireland has the wind resource and the UK is the customer. This project will create 40,000 jobs here.
The author poses the question, "Has anybody analysed the true economic and environmental cost of the Mainstream Energy Bridge project?" Let's take the economic cost first. The UK is paying 15 pence (19 cents) per unit of electricity generated from offshore wind. In our model we need to cover the cost of building the wind farms plus the infrastructure to deliver it to the UK. It's important to note that the cost will not be borne by the Irish consumer - it will come from Irish and international investors. Irish wind farms currently get 7.5 cents per unit of electricity. It ought to be possible for us to deliver renewable electricity to the UK at less than the price they pay for offshore wind. A win-win for both countries.
The 2,000 megawatts (mw) of wind power installed in Ireland reduced the wholesale cost of electricity €74 million last year. In terms of the environmental cost, wind energy makes electricity without releasing CO2.