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Onshore Wind and Solar Power Generate Miniscule Amounts Of Power In England

July 2, 2017

By Paul Homewood


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden wi-ind mills


Whenever anybody complains about the English countryside being littered with wind farms and solar panels, the renewable lobby usually come back with the claim that renewable energy is supplying a quarter of our electricity.

Technically this is true, but it does not tell the whole story.

In fact, hydro and biomass account for 11%, nearly as much as wind and solar combined.



However, if we look at the specifics of onshore wind and solar power, the things that really impact the countryside, the situation in England is drastically different.

Last year, onshore wind and solar generated 5.9 and 9.2 TWh respectively, out of a total generation of 254.7 TWh. In other words, only 5.9%.

Regardless of the cost in subsidies, which are huge, can anybody honestly say that such a tiny amount of energy is worth the environmental destruction?





  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 2, 2017 10:27 am

    Thanks for your links to data sources Paul.

    Of interest is the fact that during 2017 Q1, Scotland’s solar pv capacity of 328MW performed at a capacity factor of <1.5%!

    • July 2, 2017 10:54 am

      Only a complete idiot would put up solar panels that far north. Even in midsummer the CF is minuscule.

      • roger permalink
        July 2, 2017 2:43 pm

        The Scottish ‘parliament’ is run by complete idiots.

  2. John Palmer permalink
    July 2, 2017 10:35 am

    Hi Paul…. thought that you were on your hols!

  3. July 2, 2017 10:42 am


  4. Athelstan permalink
    July 2, 2017 10:58 am

    Regardless of the cost in subsidies, which are huge, can anybody honestly say that such a tiny amount of energy is worth the environmental destruction?

    There is no argument to be had, for a pootling grid input; onshore and offshore whirlygigs are a monstrous waste of time, effort [installation and maintenance] and more importantly its massive outlay, at quite preposterous expense.

    Money we don’t need to spend going ‘south’ and where most of the swampies who protest against fossil fuel generated energy are the one’s who also protest against “cuts AND austerity!”……….
    “save the world, the polar bears, the NHS, we love Corbyn too”

    Has it ever occurred to them [ the watermelons]……………but then again with fingers in ears and singing lala, lala, lala, no and I don’t think logic will ever enter their fluffly little heads.

    A winter crisis surely is imminent, a major outage will perhaps focus minds, God forbid if it blacks out Simon Cowell, the Kardashians and E4, the dear chickens will be squawking out of their roosts.

    Cold kills, I think that is what the greens are all about.

  5. July 2, 2017 11:52 am

    Biomass can’t be counted as renewable because of the time shift in regrowing the materials. Yet another con from the “industry”

  6. July 2, 2017 2:01 pm

    A first glance there is a contradiction “onshore wind and solar generated..only 5.9%.”
    Cost he text doesn’t emphasise enough that the pie chart is ALL UK
    I’d have changed the wording to
    “However, the situation in England (as opposed to the whole of the UK) is drastically different if we look at the specifics of onshore wind and solar power, the things that really impact the countryside ”
    “onshore wind and solar generated..only 5.9%.”

    So by ignoring Scotland and Offshore we come up with a figure much lower than the 14% UK solar/wind GENERATION.
    And there lies the rub What counts is not capacity, nor generation, but USAGE and I wonder if by the time it’s got down to it’s customers from Scottish mountains and seas whether another 1 or 2% have been LOST in transmission.

  7. John Peter permalink
    July 2, 2017 2:11 pm

    “In other words, only 5.9%.” Meaningless with averages when non dispatchable generation is discussed. What matters is that during winter with clouds and no wind (high pressure) the contribution of wind and solar is as close to zero as you can get. Probably around 0.001%. That’s the rub.

  8. July 2, 2017 2:30 pm

    The best energy output from solar panels is achieved by setting fire to them, as is currently 02.07.2017 16:29 CET being demonstrated in London. Just don’t breathe in anywhere near them.

  9. July 3, 2017 1:13 pm

    OK imagine UK electricity in the allegorical form of a government car
    Beginning there is an engine that runs on coal/gas for £40MWh
    (such fuels are taxed, but firstly since it’s the gov all the money comes back to it, and actually if they were mined in the UK then the gov has already been paid back for some of that £40.)
    #2 Someone says “there’s free power from solar”. So the gov adds a solar trailer, not leased for free but paying £100/MWh to a leasing company which is guaranteed to be paid as long as it generates.
    #3 Someone says “there’s free power from offshore wind”. So the gov adds another trailer and pays the leaser
    #4 The government itself pays for the towbar infrastructure
    #5 Drax who supplied the original engineer decide they are going to burn wood pellets instead and don’t want to charge £40MWh, they want a higher FIT of £105.

  10. July 3, 2017 5:55 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. stewgreen permalink
    July 4, 2017 12:47 pm

    Paul : Costa Rica lost power for 5 hours the other day , causing chaos.
    It’s the centre of the Panama to Honduras grid and other countries had problems too.
    Costa Rica has low Reliables therefore low resilience.

  12. July 10, 2017 10:18 am

    Of course it is far worse when you look at Energy and not just Electricity for the UK.

    In 2016 Wind, Solar and Hydro were 2.40% of the Primary Input Sources for Energy Consumption (up from 0.15% twenty years ago in 1996).

    This is hidden behind “renewable” figures where biomass is a whopping 7.16% (up from 0.77% in 1996) and nonsense about installed capacity and “record breaking power generation from solar” headlines which ignore that a record whole lot of nuthin, is still nuthin.

    Source: UK Office of National Statistics, May 2017.

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