Confusion still exists

THANKS to Google Alerts I have become aware of David Farrar’s letter (Turbine Corrections, February 21) on your website.

Unfortunately, Mr Farrar’s ‘corrections’ miscalculate the annual subsidy income of an onshore wind turbine and underestimate it by a factor of 10. Subsidy is roughly 4.8p/KWh, not 0.48p as Mr Farrar states, and accounts for about half of the annual income of an onshore windfarm.

So, taking Mr Farrar’s single 3MW wind turbine which he pessimistically assumes will operate at 19 per cent load factor and generate 5GWhs per year, the subsidy income would in fact be about £250,000 a year, not £25,000 as he believes.

Mr Farrar is also misinformed about Renewable Energy Foundation, which is a UK charity advised by a wide circle of leading engineers and academics (all listed on our website:

We publish several industry leading databases on renewable generators in the UK, as well as papers and analysis. I am content for this work to be judged on its own merits.

On one point, Mr Farrar is correct: Noel Edmonds was indeed involved in the formation of the charity, and was for a little while our chairman. Though not an engineer, Noel saw that the general public deserved better information about the renewable energy experiment being subsidised by an invisible levy on our bills. We have done a great deal in last seven years, but Mr Farrar’s letter demonstrates that misunderstanding is still common, even among those who take a close interest in the matter.

Dr John Constable,


The Renewable Energy Foundation,

21 John Adam Street,