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65 Low Wind Days Since March 17

April 9, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

Another perceptive piece from the GMB:

 

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GMB REPORTS MORE THAN 2 MONTHS OF LOW WIND DAYS SINCE MARCH 2017  

We need a mix of energy which combines renew\able sources, like wind and solar, with the reliable base load electricity capacity that comes from gas and zero carbon nuclear, to see us through all those times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine says GMB. 

GMB, the Union for energy workers, reports that there have been more than two months of low wind days (65 days) since the start of March 2017 when wind was supplying less than 10% of the installed and connected wind capacity for more than half of the day to the grid.

From 7 March 2017 every one in 5.6 days has been a low wind day (65 days in total) when the output of the installed and connected wind turbines in the UK have produced less than 10% of their installed and connected capacity for more than half of the day.

There were 138 days when there was at least one period – of half an hour – during the day when wind output was less than 10% of the installed capacity.

For 12 of those days, output was less than 10% of installed capacity for every period during the day.  Those days were 10th and 18th March 2017, 2nd and 19th June 2017, 5th and 10th July 2017, 21st, 26th and 31st August 2017, 1st and 17th September 2017 and 11th January 2018. (See notes to editors for sources and definitions).

Over the same period there were also 29 days when solar output in every period of the day was below 10% of the installed capacity. Those days were 18th and 19th October 2017, 20th and 21stNovember 2017, 5th, 6th, 10th, 13th, 17th, 20th-25th December 2017, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 12th-14th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 27th January 2018, 3rd, 19th February 2018, 1st and 2nd March 2018.

For 341 days in the year, solar output was below 10% of installed capacity for more than half of the day.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: 

“Renewable sources of energy are really intermittent. There were 138 days in the past 12 months when there was at least one period – of a half hour- during the day when wind output was less than 10% of the installed capacity.

“There were also 341 days over same period when solar was supplying less than 10% of installed capacity to the national electricity grid for more than 12 hours a day.  When this happens cannot be predicted, so back up energy sources have to be available when demand for electricity is high.

“These are the facts for the 12 months to 8 March 2018 and facts are stubborn things.  It is the facts, not the hype, which should determine the UK’s energy policy decisions.

“The wind and solar fleets combined are a very valuable addition as UK based energy sources in that they are carbon free and are a positive help with the UK’s balance of payments.

"That they are intermittent should not be a point of contention but a reason why base load lower carbon gas and zero carbon nuclear energy sources are essential for a balanced and secure low emissions future.  Anyone who disputes this is axe grinding.

“If we are to address the reality of climate change – whilst keeping our country’s lights turned on, our homes heated and our economy working – then we have to face up to the fact that we need a mix of energy which combines renewable sources, like wind and solar, with the reliable base load electricity capacity that comes from gas and zero carbon nuclear, to see us through all those times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

“Those advocating a renewables only energy policy cannot just shrug their shoulders on cloudy, windless days, or when it is dark, and pretend that more windmills and solar panels on their own can keep the lights on.  They have to accept that unless and until there is a scientific breakthrough on carbon capture or solar storage, then a balanced energy supply mix  -which includes nuclear and gas as the only reliable shows in town – is a reality."

http://www.gmb.org.uk/www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/low-wind-days

11 Comments
  1. Chris Treise permalink
    April 9, 2018 9:08 am

    Well done the GMB! I never thought to hear sense from a Trades Union!

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      April 9, 2018 9:53 am

      I’ve heard plenty of sense from trades unions in my life, Chris, almost always when they are genuinely defending the interests of their workers and their workers’ families — because that means real people living in the real world — and almost never when they are trying to suborn democratic politics or simply feather their own nests and maintain a luddite status quo.

      But it is good to see the GMB put its head above the climate parapet and take aim at those who advocate “a renewables only energy policy” and maybe this will create the small crack in the dam that will allow some common sense on energy to trickle in.

      Personally, I have never been against solar or wind —in context. Solar is working wonders in terms of such useful things as illuminated and “intelligent” road signage and if gets not much further than that it will have been worthwhile. Wind has a lot going for it in small-scale off-grid uses where consistency is not an issue.

      But as the main (still less the only) source of energy supply in a developed, technological society – in your dreams!

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        April 9, 2018 10:05 am

        Bang-on Mike, I wish that they had not added the bit about “the reality of climate change” as that is their political side, it helps the “believers” to justify their case.

  2. Rowland H permalink
    April 9, 2018 12:05 pm

    One’s eyes start to glaze over when there is so much repetition in the article – much like newspaper articles these day. However, they seem not to dare mention coal which is being increasingly used to provide reliable electricity across the developing world. Putting too much reliance on gas is dangerous. I thought we had around 100 years worth of coal beneath our feet.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 9, 2018 12:32 pm

      I thought it was 300 years.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 9, 2018 9:49 pm

        300 years was the figure I learned back in about 1970 – when UK coal consumption was about 100 million tonnes oil equivalent/150m tonnes coal. Now it’s 11mtoe (2016 figure).

      • dave permalink
        April 12, 2018 6:51 am

        A “mining man” will inform you that a mine becomes more valuable as it is exploited. This sounds paradoxical but it is not. The initial find is always only a small part of what is ultimately recoverable. Thus, also, the old rule: “Do not get excited by a high-grade streak. Extensive low-grade is better.”

        Forecasts of “peak this” and “peak that” should be regarded with suspicion.

        Beneath our feet are untold coal and gas resources.

  3. Gerry, England permalink
    April 9, 2018 12:31 pm

    Oh the irony of a union wanting to keep the economy working when their colleagues spend a lot of effort to prevent that from happening as any Southern user would know.

    But it does show how stupid a policy must be when even a union is against it.

  4. April 9, 2018 1:52 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    These are the facts for the 12 months to 8 March 2018 and facts are stubborn things. It is the facts, not the hype, which should determine the UK’s energy policy decisions.
    […]
    Those advocating a renewables only energy policy cannot just shrug their shoulders on cloudy, windless days, or when it is dark, and pretend that more windmills and solar panels on their own can keep the lights on.

    Amen to that!

  5. Bloke down the pub permalink
    April 10, 2018 11:04 am

    ‘“There were also 341 days over same period when solar was supplying less than 10% of installed capacity to the national electricity grid for more than 12 hours a day. When this happens cannot be predicted, so back up energy sources have to be available when demand for electricity is high.’

    Well mostly it can be predicted. It’s called winter.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    April 12, 2018 1:36 am

    Forget the numbers of days. If you are going to have reliable electricity – and it is by no means certain you will – you have to have adequate generating capacity available 24 X 365.
    Whether wind/solar is out for 50 days a year, or just ONE day a year, you still have to have the generating capacity.

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