The Welsh Assembly is infamous for it’s support of wind farms in Wales. That they refused to take advice on a turbine next to their offices should not really surprise anyone.
Installed outside an office of the Welsh government, the turbine was part of its plan to become more environmentally friendly.
Despite the fact that civil servants were warned the 60ft turbine was being placed a location that was too sheltered and would not experience enough wind, they went ahead and paid £48,000 for it.
Last year it was revealed that the turbine was producing an average of just 33 kilowatts of energy a month – the equivalent of £5.28 worth of electricity.
Based on those figures, the turbine would need to stand for 757 years before the cost of it was offset by the electricity it produced.
Yesterday it emerged that the turbine is to be removed because the manufacturer has gone into liquidation.
Ministers said they do not have anyone else to maintain it.
A spokesman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It beggars belief that tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money was squandered on a scheme with such a minuscule return.’
The turbine manufacturers, Quiet Revolution, warned civil servants that their office in Aberystwyth, West Wales, was the wrong place for the turbine before it was erected in 2009.
Instead of putting it close to the coastline, they insisted on sitting it in a valley, two miles from blustery Cardigan Bay.
Turbine expert Paul Burrell said: ‘It’s very important with any wind turbine to ensure they have unobstructed access to wind from all directions.
‘Unfortunately, the Welsh government’s turbine was located in a valley two miles from the sea.
It was also located next to tall buildings, so even if there was a strong wind it was displaced by the time it reached the turbine.’
The wind turbine’s performance was monitored from January 2012 until July 2013 and it was found to generate 33 kilowatts per month.
Using the current average price of electricity of 16p per kilowatt, that means it made £5.28 of electricity a month.
The turbine broke down in January and the manufacturer went into administration soon after that.
A Welsh government spokesman said the turbine stopped working when the brakes were ‘locked on’.
He said: ‘Our contractor was in discussion with Quiet Revolution until March to try and resolve the fault, when they received an email [to say] that the company had gone into administration.
‘They have been unable to progress the matter with the administrator and, as such, the wind turbine has remained out of use.
‘As the prospects of finding a company able to take on the maintenance and repair are limited, we are considering options for its removal.’
Not enough power: Last year it was revealed that the turbine was producing an average of just 33 kilowatts of energy a month. Based on the figures, it would have needed to stand for 757 years before cost was offset
Experts are divided over the efficiency of wind turbines and their capacity to generate electricity.
Lucrative subsidies – paid for by taxpayers in the form of higher energy bills – are offered to landowners who erect turbines on their property by the Government, which sees building new wind farms as key to meeting tough European carbon emission targets.
But opponents say the targets, which aim to reduce carbon dioxide by 80 per cent by 2020, are unrealistic and wind turbines will never be an efficient source of electricity for the National Grid.
Earlier this year Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottingham was criticised after it emerged it spent £30,000 on two turbines which generated only £95 of electricity in 12 months.