Laura White
Laura White

The cost of wind power is at an all-time low. Offshore wind energy cost has dropped because of larger, more efficient turbines and selling the energy by auction has encouraged competitive bidding.

The cost is measured by ‘levelising’ which means the production price of each MWh of power is averaged over the lifetime of the ‘plant’ that produces it. Wind generated power is now at roughly £97 per MWh, making it cheaper than nuclear power.

Renewable technology has come on leaps and bounds and we are now a long way from having to invest a lot of money into something that had an uncertain future.

With the technology in place it is now cheaper to manufacture wind turbines and solar panels and the equipment is much more efficient. The price of building off shore farms has fallen by nearly a third in just 5 years. There is of course a big difference between off shore and on shore wind farms and there is still a prejudice against on shore turbines. There is evidence that shows they are a threat to bats and birds and many people believe them to be a visual eye-sore. I do wonder if they would rather look at traditional electricity pylons or if they are simply of the ‘not in my back yard’ approach.

After much consultation, Den Brook Wind Farm near North Tawton opened in November 2016. There are 9 turbines which generate enough electricity to power more than 9,000 homes. The company also offers a £108 annual electricity discount for properties within 2.3km of the turbines and provides a Community Fund of £36,000 a year for local projects.

It’s not just wind turbines that people think are unsightly – some don’t agree to ground level solar panels either. I can see the argument in that arable land should really be used to feed us rather than generate electricity when we have a huge number of buildings that could host the panels, however I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the technology involved.

Permission has been granted for the installation of approximately 19,230 solar panels at Whiddon Down and this is just one of a number of applications that have been approved all over Devon.

Other locations include Pyworthy near Holsworthy, Chudleigh Knighton and numerous smaller applications in Totnes.

I will briefly mention a B&B in Okehampton – Upcott House, who have a public charging station for electric cars (they have one too) two solar panels, an air source heat pump for heating hot water and use biomass for central heating.

They are hoping to use a new technology system called ‘Vehicle to Grid’ which would allow them to use power stored from the car battery in the house too. I will be revisiting these guys for a more in depth look in the future.

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