A company linked to a number of wind farms in the North East appeared stumped when asked how efficient its turbines are.
RWE npower, the sister company of RWE npower renewables - the firm behind 18 125-metre engines near Alnwick - has said there is “no answer as to how efficient wind power is” when asked by a customer in Northumberland to justify part of his bill subsidising renewable energy.
The company’s words were last night seized upon by anti-wind campaigners in Northumberland who have long questioned the efficiency of turbines such as RWE npower renewables’ site at Middlemoor, near Alnwick, which they say have destroyed the county’s cherished landscape.
Campaigners said they would have expected RWE npower to mount a case for wind power given its links to the renewable energy firm and said its response is further proof that there is no evidence to suggest turbines are efficient.
RWE npower renewables stressed that RWE npower is the retail part of the company, whereas it deals with wind energy and the like.
RWE npower’s comments came in a letter to retired Barry Pringle, 68, of Beadnell.
Mr Pringle, an npower customer, had written to the firm asking what percentage of his bill goes towards wind power and “how efficient is wind power.”
In reply, the company said: “There is no answer as to how efficient wind power (sic) so therefore we can not answer this question.”
Last night, Mr Pringle, a landscape painter, former art teacher and interior designer, claimed the company’s response is proof that turbines are “inefficient,” adding: “Everyone knows these things do not work.”
Mr Pringle explained that he had been moved to write to RWE npower after growing concerned that the money he is paying the firm was subsidising the RWE npower renewables’ wind turbines at Middlemoor, a development he believes has destroyed the area’s landscape.
He said: “These wind turbines are patently inefficient and yet we are having to subsidise them.
“In my latest correspondence with RWE npower I asked them to give me a breakdown for the development at Middlemoor so that as someone who is subsidising this development I can see what I am paying for.
“I have also asked them in their breakdown for the costs of installation, planning, fabrication, transportation and PR. I have asked them when they expect the development to break even and on top of that who is going to pay to take the things down.”
Kerry Noble, vice chairman of the Middleton Burn Action Group, which is fighting proposed turbine projects at Belford, said he would have expected RWE npower to make a case for wind given its relationship to RWE nwpower renewables.
He added: “We know how inefficient they are. They are just money cows, aren’t they?”
A spokeswoman for RWE npower renewables would only say: “RWE npower is our sister company and the retail part of our organisation, whereas we look after the renewable energy side.”