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Energy: Wind Turbines

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 26 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the cost of producing power from (a) on-shore wind turbines, (b) photovoltaic plants, and (c) off-shore wind turbines. [HL1263]

The analysis underpinning renewable energy strategy, published in July 2009, used assumptions on the generating costs of different electricity generating technologies to 2020, full details of which are set out in Element (2009) and Redpoint/Trilemma (2009), which are available on the DECC website. The table below summarises these assumptions with respect to solar photovoltaic and wind generation in 2009.

Technology (source)


Capital expenditure (£/kW)

Operating expenditure (£/kW/year)

Load factor

Technology life

Solar photovoltaics up to 5000kW in size (Element, 2009)





25 years




Wind 15kW to 5000kW in size (Element, 2009)





10-20 years




Onshore wind large-scale (Redpoint/Trilemma, 2009)





20 years




Offshore wind (Redpoint/Trilemma, 2009)





20 years




Current evidence suggests wind generation in the UK generally faces lower capital costs and higher operating costs than solar photovoltaic generation.

Projections of future electricity generation costs are subject to considerable uncertainty. They require underlying assumptions to be made regarding technological learning rates, deployment trajectories, available resource types, supply chain capacity and so on. Technological learning and economies of scale tend to exert downward pressure on costs through time, while supply chain constraints and declining availability of the best resource may tend to exert upward pressure on costs.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of electricity was produced by wind turbines during the recent cold weather. [HL1440]

The department collects wind data on a monthly basis. These data are published two months in arrears so the latest data available are for October 2009. In October 2009 major power producer (MPP) wind farms supplied 489.4 GWh of electricity, which equates to 1.8 per cent of all electricity supplied from MPPs during October.