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Letter to the Editor

Nottingham Evening Post - Monday 22nd May 2006

Dear Sir,

Aaron Thorpe (letters, 18/5) says "If we actually paid the true price in terms of environmental damage (on CO2 from fossil fuel generation) then wind would be by far the cheapest for all of us". He quotes no figures to support his claim.

As it happens, I saw a presentation in Strasbourg last week by Prof. Dr. Alfred Voss of the Institute of Energy Economics at Stuttgart University, in which he compared the total lifetime cost of generation by various technologies, including capital costs, operating costs, and where relevant decommissioning and waste disposal costs. His conclusion was that wind was about four times as expensive as coal, gas, lignite, or nuclear.

He then included the notional cost of CO2 emissions, basing it on the current value of carbon credits in the EU market for carbon credits, at about 20 per ton of CO2. On this basis, wind is still about three times as expensive as fossil fuels (and nuclear, on this basis, is the cheapest technology available).

Mr. Thorpe is just plain wrong. The huge cost of wind is not sustainable even when we include the costs of CO2 emissions. Of course we should develop renewables, and distributed generation. But wind is a bad choice because it is hugely uneconomic.

Yours faithfully

Roger Helmer
Conservative MEP for Nottinghamshire