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No Wind, No Sun, No Power!

January 26, 2020

By Paul Homewood




While the wind stopped blowing last week, solar power was even more useless, despite some sunny days:




While on a couple of days, it peaked at over 4GW, unfortunately in winter it soon starts getting dark again!

And by Wednesday, the cloud had set in reducing that peak by threequarters.

For the four days between the 21st and 24th, the period we examined earlier, estimated solar output averaged 358MW, just 2.7% of capacity, and less than 1% of UK demand.


Welcome to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s renewable future!

  1. January 26, 2020 2:53 pm

    No worries, just buy a few million storage batteries and hope they don’t catch fire 😆

  2. January 26, 2020 3:03 pm

    What was even more worrying was what they did to cover the loss of renewables:

    Biomass maxed out (wood)
    Hydro maxed out
    pumped maxed out
    Open Cycle gas plants brought online
    Coal almost maxed out
    Combined Cycle gas plants almost maxed out
    Nuclear maxed out.

    and because continentals get cold sometimes electricity from interconnectors almost non existant. All this while the temperature was about 7C!!

    What happens when we go sub zero please?

    • Adrian,East Anglia permalink
      January 26, 2020 6:16 pm

      Ah, but this is where ‘global warming’ comes into play. A few more degrees rise and we won’t be needing all that energy after all!!

      Oh dear,have I misunderstood something?

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        January 26, 2020 10:17 pm

        Even with the most optimistic readings of rises in temperatures, at a few hundredths of a degree you are going to be waiting a long time for any appreciable warmth.

      • January 27, 2020 4:44 pm

        Someone didn’t get your sarcasm!!

  3. Joe Public permalink
    January 26, 2020 3:07 pm

    Coal is still being burnt continuously every hour of the day & night as our ‘insurance’ policy.

    • Mack permalink
      January 26, 2020 10:56 pm

      Joe, just for a laugh, wouldn’t it be amusing if our last remaining coal fired power stations got a dose of the ‘Gretas’ and all shut down simultaneously for a week, just to give the great unwashed a brief glimpse of what their political masters have in store for them in the very near future? Naturally, it would only be amusing if we sceptics and our families and close friends all happened to be chalking up the CO2 enhancing air miles and sipping cocktails on a tropical beach somewhere whilst our grid back home collapsed. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that a sharp and painful dose of energy (or, lack there of) reality is all that is required to bring the so called climate emergency bandwagon to a shuddering halt. Without access to national grid scale energy most developed societies will start to implode within 72hrs. Interesting times lie ahead.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    January 26, 2020 3:16 pm

    A Renewable future?? Renewables, except biofuels don’t work in transportation. And biofuels are 90% fossil fuel. When solar panels and wind turbines start to breakdown and lower efficiency they cannot be renewed and must be disposed of if not repairable. Replaceables is a better term? Welcome to a future with “junk-car” storage regardless of what the climate does.

  5. Tim Spence permalink
    January 26, 2020 4:20 pm

    You might recall that the Crescent Dunes (Tonopah) solar plant has shut down recently because rooftop solar PV was producing electricity at approx one third the price. When i look at the Ivanpah installation (just open the wiki page) I see that they planned to use gas to preheat the molten salt storage an hour before dawn each day. But in reality they needed to preheat for 4 hours each day.

    Looking at the costs of this, they are using the equivalent of 1MgW of gas to produce 3MW of electricity, and furthermore the plant has never reached 80% of its nameplate capacity.

    It has also been plagued by shutdowns.

    How much longer does Ivanpah have?

    • January 26, 2020 10:14 pm

      I am pretty sure that Ivanpah does not use molten salt. I think they use the gas to pre-heat the water so that solar can turn it into steam sooner during the day. Nonetheless, I agree that it is only a matter of time before this one is shut down too.

  6. Paul R permalink
    January 26, 2020 4:40 pm

    When will these morons blinded by the global groupthink come to terms with the REALITY of energy supply and demand? Their aspirations are utter pie in the sky and for all of us a very, very expensive pie!

  7. David permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:12 pm

    Why are we knocking Charlie and his mates for producing CO2? We know and surely he knows that its not a problem. The big about turn when they pronounce CO2 as good has got to come soon.- maybe just after HS2 is cancelled!

  8. Davylar permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:24 pm

    A snapshot of last week,


  9. Tonyb permalink
    January 26, 2020 5:34 pm

    Down here on the south coast, the sunniest place in the UK, we had a glorious Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

    However, my weather diary reports wed, thurs, fri and sat as dank, sunless windless and cold. Today, after rain and cloud we had an hours worth of sun late in the afternoon.

    Someone needs to come up with a brilliant and cheap means of storing surplus renewable energy as it surely isn’t sensible to rely on using it in real time.

    This sort of weather in the winter, just when power is most needed, is not at all unusual.

    Perhaps those believing in renewables should agree to be the first to be cut off when their favoured power surce fails

    • January 26, 2020 5:38 pm

      I went cycling around Marston Moor on sunny Monday (where Olly Cromwell gave Prince Rupert a whapping!)

      Perhaps I should have attached a battery to help supply the grid!

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        January 27, 2020 8:52 am

        Just put a wind mill on top of your ‘electric’ car. Recharge as you drive…. 😇

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      January 27, 2020 10:10 am

      I’ve a cunning plan, not quite what you’re talking about but cunning none the less. We make the ground sourced heat pumps two way. In winter they extract heat and in the hotter summers coming any day now we put the heat back ready for the next winter.

      I just need some government money to build a test installation I reckon 20 million would do to start it.

      • Tonyb permalink
        January 27, 2020 1:09 pm


        Sorry, but I will bid £15 million and undercut you. However like HSR. 2 I suspect I will need to come back for more, but that will be a different govt and years hence so no one will notice.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        January 28, 2020 1:32 pm

        Already exist. Cooling in summer and heating in winter. Or did you know?,

    • January 30, 2020 12:13 am

      put a wind turbine on top of big ben springs to mind!!

  10. Devoncamel permalink
    January 26, 2020 7:34 pm

    I have a question about solar power. Can anybody tell me the cost, including installation of generating 1Mw of electricity with commercial fields of panels compared with the equivalent generated by private residence rooftops?
    I ask out of curiosity as I know someone who was considering solar panels for their house.
    Now that attractive feed in tariffs have gone, how long before the ‘investment’ on the typical rooftop pays for itself?
    Answers please

  11. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    January 27, 2020 3:49 am

    Studies are underway to decrease solar energy from reaching Earth’s surface.
    If such were to happen (not likely), I wonder if the solar folks will want compensation?

  12. StephenP permalink
    January 27, 2020 8:11 am

    In the past week I have had a number of power cuts, by differing causes.
    These have reinforced two conclusions:
    1. How reliant we are on electricity to lead modern life, especially with modern communications where the government is expecting us to use the internet for most of our transaction with it.
    At present add to that lighting and heating controllers.
    Heaven help us when we add EVs, heating and cooking to the overall demand.
    2. It has reinforced my determination to resist the introduction of unreliable sources of electricity as far as I can input my pennyworth.
    It is interesting how many friends and acquaintances are beginning to see the problems with the activists proposals when they are explained to them.
    The current Citizens Assembly is a joke. I can make a pretty good guess as to their proposals.

    Incidentally, I have nothing but praise for the Western Power operatives who worked through the the night in each case to restore the electricity.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      January 27, 2020 10:31 am

      Having in the past bought a UPS to power our LTE modem when the South African ‘load shedding’ strikes, we have been blacked out again because the fibre replacement uses a relay site – which is inside our power-outage area! Not much use in being able to power the fibre modem when the fibre itself goes dark! Then the cell towers stop functioning because successive ‘sheddings’ don’t allow their batteries to recharge!
      One SF writer (Bujold) had one fictional planet’s laws include “Access to information shall not be restricted”. Yep! Now in the ‘Information Age’ it’s not just access to data – it’s also access to POWER!

      • Dave Ward permalink
        January 27, 2020 11:53 am

        That’s why I am not having “Super Fast” fibre broadband – at least while I have the choice. My old fashioned “copper to the premises” (including phone line) is adequate. In the event of a power cut both will (or should be!) kept functioning by the diesel genset at the telephone exchange. I’m well aware that may not be the case in the event of an extended outage, but certainly much longer than most battery backed mobile based connectivity.

    • StephenP permalink
      January 27, 2020 2:29 pm

      We keep an old fashioned Ambassador phone in reserve which will run on the phone line power as the walk-around phones need power to work, and mobile phones seem to run out of juice just when needed.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        January 27, 2020 3:45 pm

        Keep a power bank battery for recharging your mobile phone. Find ways to minimise its battery consumption during outages (Switch it off unless you wish to use it, and periodically switch on to check for messages). Recharge it while driving as well.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        January 27, 2020 3:48 pm

        “An old fashioned Ambassador phone”

        That takes me back! It was one of the first push button phones BT introduced – if you discount the 746 types with an electronic dial module in place of the rotary one. IIRC it suffered serious interference problems if you lived near a MW radio transmitter site. I’m amazed it still works…

  13. January 27, 2020 8:16 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  14. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    January 27, 2020 8:50 am

    Just wait for several million ‘electric’ ( coal fired ) cars needing recharging. Our ‘leaders’ are insane.

  15. Robert Egerton permalink
    January 27, 2020 9:09 am

    Mr H, Could you tell me why we continue to mess about with wind and solar energy when there is reliable, forecastable tidal power around our nation? As an old sailor I know that tidal flows can be deduced years ahead and when there is a directional flow in one area there is often a corresponding opposite flow in another… The amount of money frittered away on wind and solar is a disgrace… I believe that a similar investment on under water turbines either mounted in suitable areas of tidal flow like Portland Race or at the mouths of rivers (The Rance barrage was opened by De Gaull way back and its still working) would be of great benefit to us and we could dispense with sources affected by our variable weather.

    Keep up the good work Yours etc. Robert (Bob) Egerton

    On Sun, 26 Jan 2020, 14:48 NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT, wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood While the wind stopped > blowing last week, solar power was even more useless, despite some sunny > days: While on a couple of > days, it peaked at ov” >

    • Russ Wood permalink
      January 27, 2020 10:34 am

      One ‘skeptic’ blogger (now closed) analysed the tides at every suitable site around the UK. No can do! The tidal differences are not enough to give 24 hour electricity.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        January 27, 2020 3:52 pm

        “One ‘skeptic’ blogger (now closed)”

        His site (I presume this is who you mean?) is still up. Have a look here:

        It transpires that the various tidal differences actually amplify one another, rather than smoothing the peaks out…

      • StephenP permalink
        January 28, 2020 5:15 pm

        A relative, civil engineer, who researched tidal power in the Severn estuary, gave me the following comments on the possibility of using tidal power:
        It is very expensive for the amount of electricity it produces
        There are significant environmental issues
        Issues with silting in the estuaries
        Neap tides produce significantly less electricity than spring tides
        Even if every suitable estuary in the UK was fitted with a tidal power generator it would only produce about 30% of the current UK demand
        Free standing generators have problems with marine growth such as barnacles, and have additional problems with connection to the electricity grid.

  16. January 27, 2020 10:29 am

    You can see the govt graph for 2025 energy suppy on my page
    It suggests looking forward to 2025 on a day such as recently, we would have zero coal, CCGT down by 40%, nuclear probably stays the same as some stations are closing as Hinckley comes on line, renewables the same but if more people use electric cars then demand may well rise, lets say to 45GW. We cannot count on the interconnectors as those countries may need all their supply as was the case a few days ago.

    Demand of 45
    Total Production of around 29GW generated as below leaving a deficit of some 16GW. How will this deficit be supplied?
    Coal 0
    Nuclear 6.9
    CCGT 15.8
    Wind 1.5
    Solar 0.95
    Hydro 0.94
    Biomass 2.71

    I guess we could all travel to a nearby wind turbine having consumed a considerable amount of cabbage and beans and see if we could help them turn.

  17. Gerry, England permalink
    January 27, 2020 1:58 pm

    My corner of the south-east had barely a breath of wind and lots of grey drizzle and fog during the high pressure but at least it was not too cold.

  18. It doesn't add up... permalink
    January 27, 2020 2:47 pm

    I see that Rachel Reeves looks like she will be unopposed to reprise her role chairing the BEIS Select Committee. She notes “There’s a lot for us to focus on: ensuring that our policies to tackle climate change are ambitious and effective…” so that means no effective scrutiny will continue.

  19. Dave Ward permalink
    January 27, 2020 4:18 pm

    Guido has a post up revealing that Liebor London Mayor Sadiq Khan has awarded £400k p/a contracts to our old chum Dale Vince’s firm Ecotricity. Apparently his company provides all the electricity for the Greater London Authority – I don’t remember hearing of any power cuts there over the last few days. What provided the back-up for all those motionless turbines, and cloud covered panels?

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