Standstill wind turbines consuming electricity

Idea: The firm hopes to create a wind farm following testing
Idea: The firm hopes to create a wind farm following testing

Knabs Ridge wind farm consumes power from the National Grid at times, according to data released by the energy giant that runs the site.

Statistics from RWE npower renewables website have shown that over the past few days the Knabs Ridge wind farm has consumed power, a phenomenon referred to as ‘parasitic consumption’.

On the four occasions the Harrogate Advertiser checked the production level of the eight turbine wind farm in the past two days, the site was consuming between 5kW and 39kW of energy.

Opponents to the Knabs Ridge wind farm, and two other proposed wind farms close to the site, say this proves the location is not suitable for generating electricity.

Gerry Smith of opposition group Save the Dales said: “The performance of Knabs Ridge is very poor indeed and over the full five years it has been operational it has only achieved a rolling average of 17.26 per cent efficiency.

“The national average onshore wind efficiency is 26 per cent.

“Forgetting about landscape it is an area not suitable for wind farms as the place is not productive.”

Kelda Water Services applied to Harrogate Borough Council for planning permission for seven wind turbines at land off Penny Pot Lane in July 2012 with Tapar Ltd applying for four slightly larger turbines at a neighbouring site in October 2012.

Mr Smith added: “I can see no reason as to why either the proposed Tapar and Kelda wind farms should perform much better than the current Knabs Ridge.

“I think they are looking at building the turbines because of the subsidies that are on offer, companies can make money regardless of the productivity level.

Michael Brown a former Central Electricity Generating Board employee said he had not realised that the turbines actually took electricity from the grid.

“When waiting for wind to pick up they just sit there, I have noticed that many times that I have gone past, but I hadn’t realised that they actually consumed power rather than provide it.”

RWE npower renewables who manage the Knabs Ridge wind farm said in a statement: “Low wind speeds were the primary cause of the figures observed at some of our sites. For a few hours these sites had no generation or a very small amount of import.

“Wind turbines generate energy in the region of 80-85 per cent of the time. As such wind energy is inherently efficient.”

Both Kelda Water and Tapar Ltd declined to comment.