It has long been pointed out that due to the vaguaries of the wind, there needs to be a backup ready to take over when they stop turning. The latest jolly wheeze our dreamworld compatriots have come up with is that there does not need to be any more backup as there is already enough spinning reserve.
For those who do not know the jargon: We have our power supplied mainly by base load generation. That is power stations running on full load. Nuclear power is particularly good at this. This is then backed up by spinning reserve. This spinning reserve can provide small corrections to the power requirement in which case it is said to go from spinning reserve and into generation. But is there mainly ready to kick in if anything goes wrong, like a major grid failure or power station failure. Spinning reserve power stations are using fuel but providing no electricity. The energy used is dissipated in the cooling towers.
The pro wind turbine lobby assert that as the spinning reserve is bigger than any single power supply unit then it should also be quite capable of coping with any drop of output from wind turbines. On a (very) shallow level that sounds like a good point but really we need to look at what the spinning reserve is there for.
Spinning reserve is an emergency backup. Its size is calculated to allow the grid to cope with major failure of otherwise reliable and predictable components.
And that is the point.
The major failure of a power station is a crisis and the spinning reserve is there to ensure there are no power cuts. The spinning reserve currently built into the system is most certainly not there to iron out the erratic output of wind turbines as well.
If (god forbid) anyone actually builds another of these off-shore wind farm abortions and it then suffered a major grid failure, well: Yes. That is what the spinning reserve is for.
But it is most certainly not there to cope with the wind suddenly dropping. If you want to cope with that you need more spinning reserve.
The most shocking aspect of the pro-turbine dreamers is their sheer propensity to be at best, economical with the truth and at worst, lie through their teeth.
One day we will look back on all this lunacy and view it with derision. I just hope and pray that when that day comes the lights will still be working.