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Wind power numbers down in Britain

July 1, 2011 at 3:29 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, July 1 (UPI) -- The amount of electricity generated by U.K. wind farms fell last year because of the lowest average wind speeds this century, government statistics show.

The U.K. Department for Energy and Climate Change said wind as a percentage of the county's total electricity production was 1.9 percent in 2010, down from 2 percent in 2009, a 6-percent decrease, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

A DECC spokesman blamed the weather but insisted the United Kingdom is on track to meet European Union targets calling for 15 percent of all energy to be from renewables by 2020.

"Even against a backdrop of the lowest average wind speeds this century in 2010 and the lowest rainfall since 2003, overall consumption of renewable energy in 2010 has risen significantly on the previous year," the spokesman said.

But John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a U.K. charity that tracks the energy sector, said wind farms are failing to generate enough energy despite $8 billion of subsidies since 2002.

"REF's calculations suggest that the annual subsidies will rise to around 6 billion pounds ($9.6 billion) a year in 2020, with the program costing a total of 100 billion pounds ($160 billion) by 2030," he said.

"These are heavy burdens and threaten to exhaust consumer patience."

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