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No Wind, No Sun–But Plenty Of Gas & Nuclear!

June 16, 2020

By Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public


[Thanks to Joe for the appropriate tag!]



And what do we get for £10bn worth of renewable subsidies?

A load of capacity which often is next to useless, and a grid which still relies on gas and nuclear for 82% of demand, and a further 9% from biomass which could have been obtained at half the price from burning coal instead!

  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 16, 2020 6:38 pm

    Can we start a movement? I dunno, something snappy and relevant: How about, Base Load Matters!

    • Athelstan. permalink
      June 16, 2020 7:04 pm

      blackouts loom malignant.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        June 16, 2020 7:05 pm


  2. June 16, 2020 6:56 pm

    In the early days of computing there was a saying that ‘nobody ever got sacked for buying IBM’. These days it seems nobody gets sacked for throwing fortunes at renewables, however mediocre their performance and (lack of) value for money.

  3. June 16, 2020 6:56 pm

    And all this waste from the past decade of Conservative, in name only, government. Disgraceful. If we wanted socialism, we would have voted Labour. Ugh.

  4. Dick Goodwin permalink
    June 16, 2020 7:27 pm

    Hope they still managed to feed their children during this period.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    June 16, 2020 8:17 pm

    22GW of Wind was down to 0.125GW earlier today.

    Whilst Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy & COP26 organiser, was extolling its virtues. YCMIU

    • tom0mason permalink
      June 18, 2020 5:19 pm

      If we get a hard winter within the next 10 years will these monuments to failed green power policies help?

      And within 20 years the UK can rejoice in being ‘The World’s Number One for Volume of Waste from Worn Out Wind Farms and Old Cabling’

  6. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 16, 2020 8:30 pm

    You just get that feeling that when Shama says, ‘Home to the world’s largest offshore wind farm’, the Chinese are laughing up their sleeves at us. We are being played for fools with the help of some very helpful idiots, who are, shall we say, very sympathetic to China and it’s politics (as long as it pays).
    I have a visceral hatred of those who would sell out their country….you know whom of I speak.

    • Mack permalink
      June 17, 2020 12:54 am

      ‘Home to the world’s largest wind farm’. Em, which country(s) provided the materials to build it? Which country’s personnel actually designed and built it? And which country is the ultimate benficiary of the income that it generates? Let me guess, would it be fair to say that it’s not the UK? Could be wrong, of course, Happy to be enlightened?

      • Ivan permalink
        June 17, 2020 6:40 pm

        Not “largest wind farm”, but “largest offshore windfarm”. Big difference. The politicians have to choose their words very carefully whenever they want to say Britain is the leading or biggest something. The largest windfarms in the world are in China. With the largest being 20GW, they have almost as much wind capacity in just one wind farm as we have in all the UK currently.

        I assume Sharma refers to the Walney Extension, owned by Orsted, (formerly called DONG), who are Danish. Its turbines are a mix of Siemens Gamesa and Vesta, who are (majority) German and Danish respectively. Siemens Gamesa’s wind factories are in Spain. Vestas has factories in Spain, USA and China. Walney Extension will soon be overtaken by Hornsea, which is also owned by Orsted.

        Britain has not attracted a single major manufacturer of wind turbines. In Europe, they are mostly based in Germany, and several have factories in Spain. Germany has over 60 GW of wind capacity to compare to UK’s (current) 24GW, and is in general a much more successful manufacturer.

      • June 17, 2020 8:23 pm

        What’s your point Ivan?

        Alok Sharmas’ twitter clearly states BIGGEST OFFSHORE WINDFARM.

        And increasingly China is hoovering up manufacturing of wind turbines , just as they have solar panels and batteries

  7. Joe Public permalink
    June 16, 2020 8:49 pm

    Gas has just hit 70% of Britain’s electricity generation.

    Is 70% a record for any single source of generation?

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 16, 2020 9:59 pm

    If you need me, I’m CCGT
    No matter where you are
    No matter how far
    Just call my name
    I’ll be there in a hurry
    On that you can depend and never worry

    No wind, (no wind)
    No rain, (no rain)
    Nor winter’s cold
    Can stop me, babe
    (Oh, babe) baby (baby)

    Ain’t no mountain high enough…

    for continuous power from a wind turbine.

  9. June 16, 2020 10:09 pm

    We seem to be net exporting now
    is that unsual ?
    Are we dumping leccy at lower than cost price ?

    • Chris Barron permalink
      June 16, 2020 11:31 pm

      All the interconnectors with Europe are bidirectional. Sometimes we import , sometimes we export. As for the fuel itself, we’ve been net importers of gas for at least ten years, so a good mix is required. We’re doing alright , but if we’re to meet the IPCC target for net zero by 2050 we need to increase nuclear, as recommended by non other than the IPCC. Here’s to Rolls Royce and their new design of small modular reactors

    • June 17, 2020 2:25 pm

      My point is we were exporting leccy
      and i wondered if any experts here knew how unusual that was re amounts.

      I didn’t refer to gas cos everyone knows we’ve been a net importer for decades
      only Corbyn’s energy minister was dumb enough to go on the Andrew Neil show and state UK is a net exporter of gas.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        June 17, 2020 5:14 pm

        It’s become much more common in the era of low demand under lockdown, especially when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. In April, our exports to France and Belgium had a negative value on average, and those to the Netherlands were barely positive. Perhaps slightly cheaper than paying for more curtailment though. The volumes weren’t huge – 55GWh to France, 16GWh to Belgium and 43GWh to the Netherlands.

        We also export to Ireland, but that is usually when they are short of wind, so the value is much higher. We import their surplus wind too, but we may be trying to curtail or export to the Continent at the same time.

      • tom0mason permalink
        June 18, 2020 5:49 pm

        It’s all in the fine print of Gridwatch …
        Interconnectors – When positive the UK is importing and when negative the UK is exporting power.

        IC France — Interconnector to France – This is a link between between Folkestone (UK) and Sangatte (France). The 73 kilometres (45 mi) link is arranged as two fully independent 1,000 MW Bipoles, each operated at a DC voltage of ±270 kV. Cables are laid in pairs in four trenches so that the magnetic fields generated by the two conductors are largely cancelled. The landside parts of the link consist of 8 cables with lengths of 18.5 kilometres (11.5 mi) in England, and 6.35 kilometres (3.95 mi) in France.

        IC Ned — Interconnector to Netherlands – This is a link between Kent(UK) and Rotterdam (Netherlands). The 260 kilometre (160 mi) long bi-pole ±450 kV link consists of two HVDC cables, which are bundled together. The capacity of the cable is 1000 MW. The interconnector has two converter stations for connecting the link with the British and Dutch high-voltage electricity transmission systems.

        IC Irl — Moyle Interconnector – This is a link between South Ayrshire in Scotland and County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It consists of two monopolar ±250 kV DC cables with a transmission capacity of 250 MW each.

        IC Ew — East West Interconnector – This link connects converter stations at Rush North Beach, County Dublin, Ireland, and Barkby Beach in North Wales. The 261 kilometres (162 mi) interconnection uses ±200 kV HVDC Light cables with a capacity of 500 MW.

        IC Nem — Belgium Interconnector – This links connects Richborough Energy Park in Kent (UK) to Zeebrugge, Belgium. The 140 kilometres (87 mi) has a capacity of 1000MW

        The real get-out is the notes
        On solar —
        “There is no central recording of Solar Generation. This figure is an estimated figure which comes from Sheffield University. This value is now included in the Demand figure”

        And the notes about the meter readings, percetages, and graphs —
        “1.The demand figure shown is the Demand Figure directly from Elexon + Solar figure from Sheffield University.
        2.Each fuel type output comes directly from Elexon with the exception of Solar which comes from Sheffield University.
        3.The Demand figure will not exactly equal the total of all the outputs.
        4.Percentages on Meters: these are calculated as a percentage of the demand figure (above 1.)
        – they are NOT calculated as percentage of the total of all the outputs.
        – This means the total of all the percentage will not equal 100%.
        5.Percentage Graphs: Show percentage of all the generation types added together.”

        The same data is still shown at
        however if you hover over the ‘solar’ meter the note is a bit more informative,with this remark –
        “Estimated power (data supplied by Sheffield University at is shown here. There is good evidence from the lack of decrease in recorded demand at midday to suppose this is somewhat overestimated, however. “

  10. June 16, 2020 10:14 pm

    AF Neil is listening, 2,000 likes
    The subsidy industries dirty PR tricksters are in the replies, but not picking up much likes

  11. jack broughton permalink
    June 17, 2020 10:19 am

    I’ve just seen that SSE subsidiary Viking are planning a 443 MWe wind turbine scheme for the Shetlands. Among the guff about creating jobs and supporting island communities there is little true info. However, the cost of the turbines is stated as £ 580 m and the new connector to the mainlands is £ 600m, so investment £ 1180 m. They claim 46.3% Load factor, so produce about 1.8 TWh/y ……… very optimistic based on off-shore figures.

    So even at £ 50 / MWh = £50m / TWh, annual return is less than £90m / y. A simple payback of over 13 years: i.e. a non-starter in any sensible economic judgement, but not when subsidies are involved of course.

  12. NeilC permalink
    June 17, 2020 11:14 am

    Ha ha that made me laugh. Just out of interest I had a quick look at Sumburgh in the Shetlands for yesterday, there were only 6 1/2hourly observations where the wind speed reached10 mph (the cut in speed)

  13. June 17, 2020 11:49 am

    I follow the daily wind figures for Europe but do not bother to build up a data base. If you multiply the U.K. GWhrs figure by 15.625 you get the energy you have personally received from all the wind farms in the U.K. (assumed 60 million population) for the day.
    Frequently I find that I would not have been able to boil my kettle on many days. My mind boggles at the cost of those few watthrs.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 17, 2020 2:37 pm

      And yet strangely we are all getting 100% renewable energy so the suppliers say…..

  14. Pancho Plail permalink
    June 17, 2020 9:27 pm

    I am trying to imagine how big that battery would have to be to supply in excess of 25GW for four days continuously (and no sign of much wind tomorrow either).

  15. captain taffyapple permalink
    June 18, 2020 8:15 am

    has anyone noticed we are an island how much water surrounds us with tides so why build big towers that doesn’t do anything water power has been used for 100’s of years but maybe people can’t make so much money out of it

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      June 18, 2020 1:34 pm

      Tidal power has to deal with the problem of slack water, which happens roughly twice a day but at different times as high tides occur 12 hours and 25 minutes apart. I know that high tides occur at different times around the UK coast but it does mean you have to build at suitable locations right round the country. If you assume 4 hours of no usuable power out of each 24 for each tidal facility then you need to over instal by about 18%, say 5 facilities for every 4 baseplate values, if you see what I mean, over and above any safety margin.

      The only advantage over other renewable sources is predictability, but I don’t think environmentalists would be happy with barrages across river mouths and estuaries mincing migrating fish and other marine life.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        June 19, 2020 1:09 pm

        Unfortunately the reality is that sites that might be suitable for tidal barrages have tides that are almost in phase with each other, so instead of averaging out, you get an even peakier production profile the more you add in. Then you also have to allow for the fact that tidal power varies enormously across the lunar month as we move between Spring and Neap tides.

        I did a literature review that appears in Euan Mearns’ site here:

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