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Wind Power Barely Registers In June

July 12, 2014

By Paul Homewood


Wind farms: even worse than we thought…


Last year, wind farms contributed about 8% of the UK’s electricity. But as we well know, there are times when the wind does not blow.

A while back, I asked DECC for an analysis of the number of days when output was below a certain figure. Surprisingly, they said they did not have such information. I say surprising, as I would have thought this sort of data would be important for their planning.


Still never mind. Dave Ward has managed to download the 5-minute electricity generation data, from the Gridwatch system. From this he has managed to analyse the data for June, which does not make encouraging reading for supporters of wind power.

For instance, for 56% of the month, wind was supplying less than 3% of the UK’s power, and this during a summer month when demand is low. Worse still, it was generating less than 1% of the country’s needs for 11% of the time.

In terms of capacity, wind was working at less than 5% of its capacity for 28% of the month, and only got above 10% for 27% of the time, the equivalent of 8 days.

The graph below shows just how low capacity utilisation has been for most of the month. ( Based on DECC statistics showing wind capacity of 11461MW in Q1, which will certainly be higher now).

The lowest actual measurement was recorded on the 30th at 82MW, just 0.7% of capacity.




It is little wonder the government need to procure 53GW of standby capacity, to call upon when the wind does not blow.

  1. July 12, 2014 10:54 am

    “A while back, I asked DECC for an analysis of the number of days when output was below a certain figure. Surprisingly, they said they did not have such information. I say surprising, as I would have thought this sort of data would be important for their planning.”
    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is being withheld for commercial reasons.
    With climate scientists predicting more periods of “stable air” in the future, the amount generated from wind would be expected to decline.

  2. July 12, 2014 12:14 pm

    Takes a lot of data sorting but time of day generation might also be interesting. In the US (PJM) during colder weather the peak demand periods are dawn (5-7 AM) and dusk (5-7 PM) when people are getting up and ready for work and getting home and preparing for dinner. Those are also generally low wind periods. For example, it’s dead calm at 8:12 AM EDT in my location.
    Summer (hot day) also seems to have a peak that starts 10AM-11AM and runs for about 12 hours to account for air conditioning use.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      July 12, 2014 3:45 pm

      The sun tends to be low in the sky at dawn and dusk too, so solar can’t fill the gap.

  3. July 12, 2014 1:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    This is the core problem with Wind and also Solar; as any competent engineer will tell you that it is basically impossible to go much about the 10% level of Wind or Solar for Grid level power. Using very optimistic values of 30% up time means you need three times the generating capacity if you even hope to get to a output equivalency of other forms. Hot backup is also required so the entire system makes no sense at any level.

    • July 12, 2014 2:27 pm

      Yes, but incompetent politicians would never dream to ask the opinion of a competent engineer when they and the general public deal in ideology not scientific facts (or common sense)

  4. A C Osborn permalink
    July 12, 2014 1:33 pm

    What I would like to know is how much we have paid for this wonderful generating system.
    With Subsidies it must be at least £10b, contrast that performance with the French ICT which has a continuous 2Gw feed and the Dutch ICT 1 Gw feed at standard energy rates.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    July 12, 2014 1:37 pm

    Great work by Dave.

    Perhaps he ought to sell his consultancy service to DECC?

    “…….during a summer month when demand is low. ”

    i.e. during the period when many conventional generating sources are off-line for essential maintenance, so rapid-response capacity may be limited.

    This past week a greater-than-usual amount of space-heating has been needed.

    • Brian H permalink
      July 17, 2014 8:51 am

      Even though demand was low, wind’s % of demand was even lower!

  6. Paul permalink
    July 12, 2014 3:44 pm

    Off topic but related.
    Confessions of a Computer Modeler

  7. catweazle666 permalink
    July 12, 2014 4:31 pm

    “Surprisingly, they said they did not have such information. “

    They’re liars.

  8. Herve permalink
    July 12, 2014 4:36 pm

    Wind propagandists no longer need to argue about statistics because they already won their case: To Oblige politicians force population to pay electricity at huge extra cost for 20 years at least.
    Now that politicians are glued in their ignorance, incompetence and corruption, they can no loger go back unless losing face and future elections.
    Wind contracts might be for 15 years (on paper) but politician interest is of a couple of decades longer.

  9. July 12, 2014 5:26 pm

    Take a look at the excellent site at
    to see the national grid wind power for June day by day.

    • July 13, 2014 12:27 pm

      Imho, the most interesting part of that graph is how, starting in April 2014, that it appears combined cycle natural gas is overtaking coal as the electric energy source of choice. Natural gas low emissions doesn’t hurt either.

      Looks like wind is just a bit player the UK’s electric sector and remains so for many years to come.

  10. July 12, 2014 5:28 pm

    Also interesting to note that Gas (CCGT) has overtaken coal as the majority national grid power provider since May – have a look here

  11. Paul permalink
    July 12, 2014 10:33 pm

    Came across this on twitter:

    Makes very interesting reading.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 13, 2014 11:08 am

      That’s a new keyboard you owe me.

  12. July 13, 2014 8:03 am

    Reblogged this on Millennia Blog and commented:
    53GW of inefficient “dirty” power required to back up a so called “green’ future of energy production. This is the scandal of our age, and will only get worse.

  13. July 13, 2014 8:40 am

    Industrial Wind Turbines fail as a solution to global warming, meeting our energy needs and creating jobs. It’s as simple as the wind often doesn’t blow at high enough speeds to spin the blades, or create significant power from the spinning. Every MW of wind energy must be matched with a MW of fossil fuel generation, called spinning reserve, to make up for the shortfall. Here are a few articles explaining this and more:
    1) Energy blow as wind power fuels pollution
    2) The dirty secret of Britain’s power madness: Polluting diesel generators built in secret by foreign companies to kick in when there’s no wind for turbines
    3) Reality Check: Germany’s Defective Green Energy Game Plan
    4) Study: Wind Power Raises CO2 Emissions
    5) Subsidizing CO2 Emissions via Windpower: The Ultimate Irony
    6) Government Lab Finds Wind Energy Not Meeting Carbon Emission Goals
    7) Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that’s not ready
    8) AWEA Confirms Electricity Prices Skyrocketing In Largest Wind Power States
    And then there’s the fact that wind turbines sited near people’s homes severely impacts the health of many of those living close.
    1) Wind Turbine Noise, Sleep Quality, and Symptoms of Inner Ear Problems
    2) Wind Turbines can be Hazardous to Human Health
    3) U.S. government has known about Wind Turbine Syndrome since 1987 (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
    And wind turbines kill more birds – threatened eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, etc. – than you could ever imagine:
    1) Wind turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!
    2) US Wind Turbines Kill Over 600,000 Bats A Year (And Plenty Of Birds Too)
    Wind energy is a sham and only the wind industry, certain politicians, and their crony capitalist associates benefit. However, they are very good at sales propaganda.

  14. July 13, 2014 9:46 am

    Seems to be a mistake in the math, because the chart and numbers don’t agree.

    You say, “In terms of capacity, wind was working at less than 5% of its capacity for 28% of the month, and only got above 10% for 27% of the time, the equivalent of 8 days.”

    But your chart shows that wind got above 10% for about 47% of the time, the equivalent of 14 days.

    Hours above 10% utilisation = 343: 18+25+35+85+180.
    Hours with 10% or less utilisation = 390: 250+140.
    Percentage = 47: 343/(343+390).
    Numbers read from the chart by eye.

  15. July 13, 2014 11:38 am

    I find average wind contribution to peak demand is also only about 3% over the last 30 days. That is less than French imported nuclear power and far more unreliable. See

  16. July 13, 2014 12:10 pm

    Your example is exceptionally low, even for wind. However, both wind and solar are very often overrated and over-hyped.

    Folks tend to think wind/solar nameplate Mw ratings are similar to other types of electric plants. They aren’t. Not even close. Wind, on average, produces only about 1/3rd and solar 1/4th the electricity of fossil plants of the same nameplate capacity and they can’t be turned on and off as needed to respond to customer electric demand.

    Remove taxpayer subsidies and wind & solar are very expense energy sources.


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