Wind Power, Winter and No Wind

Just a short update on the contribution the theoretical 2.4GW of metered wind generation is making  at this critical time.

Here are some figures from NETA and a little commentary from me.

Using the same data set, yesterday and earlier today, NETA came up with these predictions:

This gives peak output (NOT the average) as 4% rising to 5% of the rated output. The prediction is that output may treble tomorrow. But this will still be only 16% of the total boiler-plate rating - and will peak at 21:00 - just in time for people to start turning in for the night. Even then it is still a shamefully low figure.

If we look at the contribution made by different types of generation :

We see that the contribution from windpower is 0.1%. From the much lauded boiler-plate rating it should be just under 4.5%

That is, the total metered wind-turbine supply in all of the UK, at this time of maximum demand is providing us with 1/1000th of what we need. The boiler-plate rating the wind industry keeps boasting about states it should be about 1/25th.

We have actually been buying 12 times as much as this from the French. Even the pumped storage facility in Wales (usually used to meet short lived demand peaks and to control the mains frequency) provided eleven times as much. Hydroelectricity, of which we have very little, still provided double the wind power output.

It has been like this for days.

Luckily we are not in a position where we are dependant on wind for serious power generation.

But what if we were?

What if we were dependant on wind power or, in this weather, on its spinning reserve? What if the wind power "enthusiasts" get their way and we largely replace coal generation with wind turbines backed up by CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbines)

On first look, it appears that it would not matter - during a time like this we simply would be using the CCGT spinning reserve.

Regrettibly it does matter. It matters massively. Dare I say it matters catastrophically. During weather like we are having right now, it would push our dependence on Gas to almost 70%.  We would need to significantly increase the gas transport infrastructure to feed these CCGT stations. Most importantly we would need to stockpile much more gas. At the moment, our meagre 7 day supply relies on the fact that power generation can, over a number of days, maximise use of coal and nuclear and minimise gas. That goes out the window if you need to guard against wind power failing and have no other option but to use gas..

I'll explain fully in a future post. Possibly the next, maybe the one after that. But I havn't got time to elaborate at the moment.

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