ASA bans ‘misleading’ windfarm capacity claim

A claim featured in an advert on the website for the proposed Den Brook windfarm about its generating capacity of 18MW has been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The complaint brought against the Renewable Energy Company (RES) by the Taw Turbine action group was upheld on the basis that it was not possible for the nine turbine windfarm to operate at installed capacity at all times.

The ASA ruled that a capacity factor of 25.5 per cent was a more accurate reflection of the likely operational output of a wind farm and it was “misleading to make a claim about the amount of electricity the wind farm was capable of producing based on its maximum possible output, even when qualified by the phrase up to.”

It also upheld the claim by the REA that this energy output would be sufficient to provide for 40 per cent of all the homes in West Devon.

The ASA said this was also misleading to consumers as this figure was based on average UK household energy consumption rather than energy consumption in West Devon specifically, which is typically higher, therefore overestimating the number of West Devon houses the windfarm would be capable of providing for.

A second complaint was upheld by the ASA against an advert for the government’s Green Deal Plan by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) which implied that there were “guaranteed savings” under the Green Deal.

The ASA told Decc the advert could not appear in its current form, telling the department “to ensure they held sufficient evidence for [the] claims made in marketing communications, including saving claims, their ads did not misleadingly imply savings were guaranteed”.

This follows a previous ruling by the ASA in May this year in relation to the government’s Green Plan.

The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) was forced to pull its brochure as it failed to substantiate claims that customers were guaranteed to save money under the scheme, and failed to inform customers about additional costs such as assessment charges.

The GDFC also couldn’t prove that it was typically the cheapest option on the market for medium sized loans.

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