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Mark Carney Says We Can Do Without Fossil Fuels!

January 26, 2020

By Paul Homewood

We have had a spell of high pressure this week over the UK, and consequently wind power has been well down:


Hourly Wind Power – Jan 2020

For the four days up to Friday 24th, wind output has averaged 2.5GW, averaging 6.5% of total demand of 38.7GW. Inevitably, it has been coal and gas which have done the heavy lifting, running at 2.9GW and 21.1GW respectively.

For more than a quarter of the period, wind has provided less than 2GW.

Allowing for embedded wind generation not included in the grid figures, which adds about 30% to the above figures, this means that wind power has been running at only 13% of capacity.

Compared with average utilisation of 35%, this means a shortfall in generation of 500 GWh over the four days.. To put this figure into perspective, you would need about 5000 Tesla 100MW batteries, of the type installed in Australia two years ago at an estimated cost of £125 million, to provide back up.

Five thousand of them would set you back a cool £625 billion. And that’s just to last four days. This spell of high pressure has been relatively short, and not as windless as many often are.

And also bear in mind we still only have 23.9GW of wind capacity, a figure which some would like to see quadrupled or more.

Mark Carney does not seem to have grapsed the fact that the wind does not blow every day. Strange, because even Homer has worked that one out!

  1. cajwbroomhill permalink
    January 26, 2020 2:35 pm

    Mark Carney has demonstrated yet again his strong potential as a recruit for the Meteorology Office or, indeed, for the Climate research team in the University of East Anglia.
    Alternatively, there must be openings for Astrological experts, to be salaried but based only on the accuracy of their predictions.

  2. January 26, 2020 2:39 pm

    I did wonder what the numbers would be after seeing the wind output over the last week of high pressure. Mathew Parris of the Times would be proud. Or B…

    Thank you.

  3. January 26, 2020 2:41 pm

    I hope you don’t mind me repeating this but renewables haven’t done well this past week with demand for electricity high, we have been suffering a lot of fog and little wind. Together wind and solar have been contributing around 5% of our electricity requirements and coal, which is to be shut down this year, has been called upon to contribute 10%. Pretty near the lights going off. I’ve just updated my blog to show a projection in 2025 where, according to government estimates in similar conditions, we will probably have an electricity supply deficit of some 16GW. If that happens I think the politician’s minds might become a bit more focussed instead of listening to the prophets of doom. I’ve asked my MP to ask the appropriate ministers about where we will find the missing 16GW

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      January 26, 2020 7:01 pm

      Dont worry the diesel peakers and SMART meters will come to the rescue

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      January 26, 2020 7:55 pm

      Dont worry the diesel peakers and SMART meters are the answer

  4. January 26, 2020 2:59 pm

    I would rather keep fossil fuels and do without Mark Carney!

  5. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    January 26, 2020 3:03 pm

    Scale is a difficult concept.
    Math is hard.
    Other people’s money is easy.

  6. Ken Pollock permalink
    January 26, 2020 3:18 pm

    Paul, will you please stop confusing people with real sums? They prefer ideas and concepts, far removed from anything as crude as actually working out what it all means. Hence very few engineers in parliament and certainly they are as rare as hen’s teeth among our journalists.

  7. Colin Megson permalink
    January 26, 2020 3:54 pm

    July 2018 was a terrible month for wind, falling 3.4 TWh below the average monthly figure for the year. But maybe LAES has cracked the intermittency problem – a mere £300 billion to get that 1.1 TWh up to 4.5 TWh.

    But wait a minute! how many of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 SMRs would that buy, at £456 million each – enough to supply 132 TWh per 31 days [at least 4X more than the UK uses per year].

    Search for: “july 2018 was a very poor month for wind power”

  8. LeedsChris permalink
    January 26, 2020 4:19 pm

    The other point is that the whole system remains underpinned by gas powered power stations and nuclear. The role of combined cycle gas power stations is pivotal. Every day demand for electricity falls during the night (yes, no kidding!) and then rises sharply from 6am to the daytime peak requirements. Each day is is ONLY the gas powered stations that can meet that rise in demand. In the strict sense the system is only kept going by those gas stations, together with an element of nuclear as underpinning – everything else is only providing power, unpredictably, when it can.

    • January 26, 2020 4:40 pm

      Check out the forecast – you can see it on my website, gas is predicted to fall as they close stations, that’s why it looks like we will be 16GW short of supply on these days.

      • Steve permalink
        January 27, 2020 9:20 am

        Most British nukes will be closed within 10 years and, according to the CCC, only Hinkley will be available, providing it is completed, and Sizewell. Even Sizewell replacement may not be built. 5% baseload and not enough gas! And the French nukes will be closing too while they will be supplying the remaining German grid which will be nuclear free in two yesrs time. What could possibly go wrong?

  9. jack broughton permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:04 pm

    I’m involved in a debate in The Enginner at the moment about the cost of pwer from the new Dogger Bank windfarm. Apparently it is quoting below £ 50 / MWh, but I can’t tell if this allows for curtailment costs and back-up.
    The true cost of operating stand-by plant to support unreliable generators seems not to be included. The extra wear and tear are serious issues as is the lowered efficiency when in load-following mode.

  10. Stonyground permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:19 pm

    What about ploughing fields and moving stuff about? Every tractor and every truck pulling an extra trailer with batteries in it? Then what is the fool going to charge all of these batteries up with?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 26, 2020 5:57 pm

      Dees-Hell!! (I might just copyright that. 🙂 )

      • Adrian,East Anglia permalink
        January 26, 2020 6:46 pm

        Apparently one proposal for an electric tractor involves the use of a very long flexible cable connecting the machine to the source of leccy. We have been wondering how long it might be before the 400m of shiny copper cable gets nicked!

      • Adrian,East Anglia permalink
        January 26, 2020 7:02 pm

        Apparently one proposal for an electric tractor involves the use of a long flexible cable connecting the machine to the source of leccy. We have been wondering how long it might be before the 400m of shiny heavy gauge copper cable gets stolen!?!

  11. tomo permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:24 pm

    In the unlikely event that Mr Carney is a lurker here… mate, if you want to be taken seriously please lead by example by removing *all* fossil fuel derived artifacts and services from your life.

    I wonder if he smokes the same stuff as Justin and Cath ?

  12. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:52 pm

    Just a couple of things to get things into context:

    1: If a Nuclear (any other) power station was repeatedly producing less than 10% (rough maths) of nameplate the PTB would be up in arms about the ‘government’ (it’s always the ‘government’s’ fault – look at NHS management!) not providing a good service.
    2. When the government of the day wanted a mouthpiece to rail against Brexit they got Carney; when Brexit happened and they needed someone to support CC they sent Carney to the IPCC. He is his master’s voice.

    He’s obviously a mercenary. And doing very well from it – especially as his wife is a greenie.

  13. Philip Mulholland permalink
    January 26, 2020 6:02 pm

    No wonder Alfred Nobel never created a prize for economists.

  14. George Reagan permalink
    January 26, 2020 6:25 pm

    Who the hell is Mark Carney ?!?!

  15. Garry Gerrard permalink
    January 26, 2020 7:50 pm

    Why don’t we just let Mark Carney manage the Piggy Bank.

  16. January 27, 2020 2:40 am

    That’s good news. If we can do without fossil fuels we can save the oceanic creatures from the horrors of ocean acidification, the evil twin of climate change. Thank you Mr. Carney.

  17. January 27, 2020 8:09 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  18. Steve permalink
    January 27, 2020 9:24 am

    George Osborne chose Mark Carney as he was apparently the worlds best banker. George also thought that the Northern economy would benefit from a road tunnel built between Sheffield and Greater Manchester. Any thoughts?

    • Russ Wood permalink
      January 27, 2020 10:37 am

      Banker? Are you sure they spelled it right?

  19. Mike Higton permalink
    January 27, 2020 12:31 pm

    Steve: “And the French nukes will be closing too “.
    That seems to be the general perception and I think Macaroon said something to that effect.
    However a recent documentary on French TV contradicted the perception.
    In 2014 EdF/Arreva embarked on a massive programme, called “La Grande Carenage” to refurbish virtually all of the plants. The scale of work is huge. They are replacing all of the steam generators and many other components, installing massive “catch-basins” under the reactors, putting in new, additional back-up generators housed in flood-proof buildings, modernising the controls and so on. The aim is to give each plant another 20 – 30 years of working life.
    No way are they doing all of that if the plants are going to be phased out on the near future.
    Actions speak louder than words!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 27, 2020 1:55 pm

      Would that mean that the new reactor at Flammanville – years late and billions over budget – will be closed down before it opens?

    • Steve permalink
      January 28, 2020 7:03 am

      Maybe EDF could modernise the UK nukes too. If Micron has had to accept reality why can’t Boris?

  20. Rudolph Hucker permalink
    January 30, 2020 12:48 pm

    If Mark Carney is ever appointed to advise this Country on the fossil free power! Buy a diesel generator and lighten your darkness!

  21. Ivan permalink
    January 30, 2020 2:12 pm

    “Allowing for embedded wind generation not included in the grid figures,which adds about 30%”

    The wind generation data shown on sites like Gridwatch, which is scraped from, includes all “operationally metered” wind farms, which is not the same thing, as some embedded windfarms are operationally metered. But it doesn’t aid clarity that some official data reports use the label “embedded wind” to mean “wind not operationally metered”, such as this (I found a data definition document somewhere before I found the data).
    Other days accessed from this page

    If you tried to find out what proportion of wind was truly embedded, you could get this wrong.
    But the proportion of unmetered wind, in terms of generation not capacity, does seem quite variable. Over the last few days, looking at charts such as these (they don’t align well vertically, be careful) it has varied in the range 20%-30%, mostly at the lower end, but the high proportion was achieved in the calm period. Maybe that is why you took 30%.

    I’m glad I have had this little exploration. I had always wondered how much wind generation was not being reported in these data. It is more than I guessed. Given most offshore is on the east side of the country, I imagine that wind leaning to the western side increases the proportion of unmetered. Maybe there is also a turbine size effect, but I don’t know.

    • January 30, 2020 4:19 pm

      My 30% came from the Gridwatch estimate.

      But I also doublechecked the BM data for Q3 against the BEIS official wind power data, and this came close to a 30% difference as well.

      As you say, the balance of onshore (a lot of which is embedded) and offshore which is not will affect day to day numbers

  22. January 30, 2020 10:25 pm

    Mark Carney –
    “Personal life
    Carney met his wife, Diana Fox, a British economist specializing in developing nations, while at the University of Oxford.[30] She is active in various environment and social justice causes.”

    extract – “The British press has pegged Diana Carney as “anti-capitalist” and an “eco-warrior” in an attempt to contrast her against her husband Mark’s future role as Governor of the Bank of England.
    Now Ms. Carney has once again drawn the ire of critics across the pond with a tweet that was interpreted as a complaint about house hunting in pricey London, despite having a hefty taxpayer-paid allowance of more than $388,300.”

    Virtue signalling springs to mind for this pair!!

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