Skip to content

New Wind Power Record? So What.

December 9, 2016

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public




National Grid seem to be orgasming about a supposed new record for wind power.

To which I can only reply- SO WHAT?




As we keep on building more and more subsidised wind farms, should we not expect more electricity to be produced?


The real issue is that these sort of outputs are neither reliable or sustained:





The 10000MW figure lasted about an hour or two, and was within hours back down to well under 5000MW.

And what compensated for this shortfall in wind power? Good old coal!

The more wind capacity there is, the more standby capacity will be needed.

  1. markl permalink
    December 9, 2016 7:37 pm

    People are catching on to the misleading information being generated by the MSM. It was bound to happen.

  2. Stuart Brown permalink
    December 9, 2016 8:08 pm

    That’s odd. I looked at Wed night and thought that wind might actually outstrip nuclear – but it never did, so less than 8GW. On there at least.

    Also at the peak of wind output, what moved out of the way? Some coal and gas, but it looked like biomass dropped to near zero in the graph above and on gridwatch. What’s that all about? Surely Drax isn’t as ‘steerable’ as a CCGT so a coincidental dropout?

    (BTW what happened this morning, Leo, if you’re reading? Did you get up at 7am and hit the steam gauges with a monkey wrench? :-))

    • Dave Ward permalink
      December 10, 2016 12:15 pm

      @ Stuart – remember that Gridwatch uses the “BM Reports” data, which only records windfarms feeding directly into the high voltage grid. Roughly another 30% of smaller sites are “embedded” – in other words, they connect to local networks, and their contributions aren’t visible in real time. Some other versions of the above report do mention this, and how they make up the headline figure.

    • Joe Public permalink
      December 10, 2016 12:57 pm

      As Dave correctly points out, wind (and solar) capacity which is not part of the Balancing Mechanism is classified as “embedded” or “unmetered”. This contribution is not a constituent of the “Demand” figure, either. [i.e. the contribution has to be added to the displayed demand figure)

      (Metered) Wind’s contribution peaked at 7.135GW, occurring at 14:20, when displayed demand was 40.035GW.

      For wind to have contributed 10GW, “unmetered” would be ~41%, which is significantly higher than the accepted ~30%.

      Apart from that tweet, Nat Grid’s website still hasn’t formally confirmed the >10GW figure, which depends entirely upon an estimate of the contribution by “unmetered” capacity.

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        December 10, 2016 5:05 pm

        @ Dave – Thanks. Mea culpa, I should have realised that it was only metered wind on Gridwatch, having read that a while ago.

        @Joe – BM Reports have a total of 8354GW for period 29 – 14:30 on Wed, but since that report is titled ‘Actual or Estimated’ who knows?

        It was sunny too, so nearly a GW of metered solar (982MW), and I guess people’s roof tops were humming. So apparent demand was 40GW at that point on Wed, but on the previous day at 14:30 it was over 46GW. All other things being equal, does that mean there was another 6GW of unmetered wind and solar appearing to reduce apparent demand on Wed?

        Well, on Thursday at 14:30 it wasn’t as sunny (681MW) and the wind had dropped (4.48GW). But apparent demand was only 41.3GW.

        I imagine National Grid’s crystal ball is better than the back of my envelope, but I’m with you – it’s still a guess!

  3. December 9, 2016 8:45 pm

    This is it with renewables: they don’t replace anything. All that happens is the other forms of generagion get a smaller slice of the ‘cake’, but they still have to be there in case renewables are on one of their frequent breaks.

  4. luberon boy permalink
    December 9, 2016 9:57 pm

    and how much would this 20% have cost the increasingly poor consumer

  5. Tony McKenna permalink
    December 9, 2016 10:16 pm

    OT but this is a rather amusing layman’s guide to the Paris agreement from our friends in ABC Australia. It explains how the agreement limits the emissions of hydroflourocarbons (Kigali surely?).

  6. December 10, 2016 12:54 am

    An amusingly correct simple analysis. The bottom line has to be Greenies are severely logically inpaired. The whatever grid demand needs instantaneous whatever grid supply. Else it is designed to shut off go dark to protect itself (and many billions,of investment). That is how electricity works. UK’s Maxwell first posited the underlying basic physics in four elegant electromagnetic vector equations about 150 years ago. Which has enabled all electrical and grid engineering since. Hey Greenies: Learn how to compute Maxwell’s equations. Focus on how much E is induced in a conductor wire by how much M when delta M is near zero because the wind doesn’t blow, so the turbine blades don’t turn, so the change in M is near zero. You can work it out pretty simple without knowing tensor calculus. Delta M ~zero equals E ~zero. Across the whole tensor field.

    If you want a reliable grid with intermittent renewables, then you must back renewables up with fast ramping dispatchable electricity. The more you force that off line by preferences for renewbles, the higher the cost of essential backup becomes. Duhho!

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    December 10, 2016 7:26 am

    O/T but one for you, Paul. Cryogenic storage. Note, no costings shown.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      December 10, 2016 5:14 pm

      When the liquid air warms up it expands and can drive a turbine to make electricity.

      ‘Nuff said.

  8. December 10, 2016 8:26 am

    Note the wind power is at its highest when we are having a very mild spell and close to zero in the recent cold weather – no further comment required!

  9. December 10, 2016 8:32 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  10. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    December 10, 2016 11:24 am

    WUWT (Willis) with Trump Transition Team 74 questions to US DOE/EIA:

    oh dear?

  11. December 10, 2016 12:50 pm

    Wind = 3 GW at 12,45

  12. mwhite permalink
    December 10, 2016 1:15 pm

    Let’s hope we don’t reach South Australias 40 percent?

    “If this graph means what I think it does, SA grid managers must be hoping for a cool summer.”

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 10, 2016 10:26 pm

    Just to slay another wind dragon:

    Not to mention the poor forecasting performance 48 and 24 hours out:

    • December 11, 2016 6:29 pm

      Don’t understand the two graphs, the first is labelled MWH*4, why is that?
      The second graph gives a frequency which seems to mean number of occasions / year when the event happens: is it not the number of hours per year that is important in meeting our needs of power? Maybe I’m missing something more than I’m told is the case!

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        December 12, 2016 2:12 am

        I was lazy: the data are summed for each day from 96 15 minute intervals. So if you want average power output, divide by 96 not 4, which gives daily energy output.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        December 12, 2016 2:27 am

        The second chart shows how far off wind forecasts are from actual wind output, effectively as a probability distribution. Two forecasts are made, and the final forecast shows some big revisions compared with the initial forecast. It’s an indication of how difficult it is to manage the grid when windfarm output varies so much from forecast. If forecasts were nearly perfect, the distributions would cluster around 0 on the X axis. At least the final forecast shows less spread than the initial one does, but it’s still not very accurate. You need a big power station on standby, just in case. If not, you have blackout risk. Or if you are in South Australia (or even Northern Scotland) you just get the blackout anyway, because you have inadequate standby capacity.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: