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Coal Outperforms Wind Power In UK Wind Week!

November 27, 2020

By Paul Homewood



h/t Joe Public




With an impeccable sense of timing, some bright spark decided to make this UK Wind Week.

Perhaps they should have called it UK NO Wind Week!








Sat under an anticyclone, Britain’s contribution from wind power since yesterday has been less than 1GW, around 2% of the total electricity generated. This situation is expected to last a few more days yet.

As ever, it is fossil fuels which have come to the rescue, with gas currently supplying 60% of the nation’s power, and even coal, which has been fired up to give 7%.

Indeed, in the last day we have had more power from coal than from wind.


Thirteen years ago, the Labour government promised us that wind power could be powering every home by this year. (I wonder where I have heard that lately!)



And we were supposed to run out of gas by now, because of disruption to supplies!




We are governed by idiots.

  1. cajwbroomhill permalink
    November 27, 2020 10:50 am

    Because of our negligible output of manmade greenhouse gases, including CO2, <1% of the global total, there is no point in the UK decarbonising at all.

    If those in charge of the UK's national policies are unaware of that truism, they must be told so that they can safely cancel decarbonisation. Otherwise, they should resign on the grounds of ignorance and irresponsibility.

    If their motivation is based on corruption, their dishonesty must be exposed.

    Our present national finances being in a terrible state, there are no grounds for any expenditure on green tokenism.

  2. Adam Gallon permalink
    November 27, 2020 10:55 am

    And at 10.30am today, wind produces a magnificent 0.54GW, coal 2.8GW! Solar 1.54GW.

  3. jack broughton permalink
    November 27, 2020 11:00 am

    All is well on a windy, low power day, apart from Constraint payments. However, the back-up cost for the fluctuations is massively underestimated by those pushing the green agenda. The CCGTs are being wrecked by over-cycling and the asset value is lost as well as the extra fuel costs from inefficient operation. Back-up power supply capital costs ought to be costed as part of wind capital costs. They have got away with ignoring the depreciation of the assets purchased before the windmills were installed, and apparently will now continue to ignore the cost of supplying new balancing plant.

    It is clear that the re-write of The Green Book, which governmental projects are meant to be assessed to, to value CO2 was a scam which allowed value for money through cost / benefit analysis to be bypassed. This is the only way that the squandering of financial resources on wind could occur. Of course: as usual “It is the rich what gets the pleasure and the poor what gets the blame”..

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      November 27, 2020 1:57 pm

      They will need the polluting gas peakers later on this afternoon to cover the peak so just as well Covid is suppressing demand but we wont here about them spewing out there nice mix of gases into local neighbourhoods.

      Until the we get forced power cuts no one will realise how fragile the system is and the bonkers approach that is being taken. By all means we do our bit with some renewables but ultimately we need a sensible generation mix available.

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 27, 2020 11:06 am

    As I pointed out on the other thread, early this morning as people got up and demand increased, France and Belgium inter-connectors gave us nothing. As you would expect, the whole of Europe generally suffers wind depletion/high demand at the same times, contrary to perceived wind propaganda – it’s always blowing somewhere.

    • November 27, 2020 12:04 pm

      Grim, I disagree, the wind lobby are correct… it is is always blowing somewhere…
      currently there are 3 depressions over the Aleutian Islands / Alaska with winds of 40mph & loads more in the Southern Ocean (how you get that energy here is just mere details to be solved by green magic unicorns),43.72,464/loc=-166.609,48.523

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        November 27, 2020 1:02 pm

        Undone by my badly worded generalization – darn!

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        November 27, 2020 6:03 pm

        There’s been a distinct lack of wind in Northern Europe for the las two or three days. Despite a huge investment wind has been less than 20GW for UK, Spain, France, Germany and Scandinavian and Baltic countries, half that came from Spain

    • mikewaite permalink
      November 27, 2020 3:11 pm

      Yes it may be true that ” its always blowing SOMEwhere” unfortunately power is required

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 27, 2020 3:34 pm

      Looking at the Gridwatch site for France wind has been contributing very little there, while they have ramped up gas, coal and hydro. Nuclear is constrained by shutdowns.

      A few days ago, the French said that they could foresee shortages in January and February if the weather turns cold. Meanwhile, we have also been supporting the Belgians, whose Green energy minister has effectively shut down most of their nuclear capacity.

  5. November 27, 2020 11:24 am

    Can someone explain to the cretins who came up with the idea of running this country on the breezes, that if you multiplied the number of wind turbines by 100 you still wouldn’t get any electricity if the wind doesn’t blow. Imagine this was 2030. How many people would die in the winter because there wasn’t any power

  6. Alan permalink
    November 27, 2020 11:28 am

    According to your first pie chart, interconnectors supplied more than wind, solar and biomass, the whole scam is ludicrous

  7. November 27, 2020 11:34 am

    I’m thankful I had the foresight to put a generator in my garage!

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 27, 2020 1:49 pm

      Then for goodness sake, if you ever have to use it in a power outage I hope you don’t let on. IE: keep your curtains closed and don’t show any lights as, as sure as eggs are eggs some scrote will be round to nick the genny – or more.

  8. trevorshurmer permalink
    November 27, 2020 12:27 pm

    Has BBC news reported this, or Harrabin maybe?

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 27, 2020 1:03 pm

      It’s not reported by the BBC, so it must be true! 😉

    • Tym fern permalink
      November 27, 2020 3:36 pm

      No, they only report it when we go a record number of days EVAH without coal being used.

  9. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 27, 2020 12:34 pm

    Lack of wind is a problem across Europe at the moment
    Spain is probably doing best
    France :

    The wind might be blowing somewhere, it doesn’t appear to be northern Europe though

    • November 27, 2020 1:48 pm

      I do wonder what the I/C capacity is from Spain to France? I suspect not much!

      • MikeHig permalink
        November 27, 2020 2:49 pm

        From a brief search, existing IC capacity is close to 3 GW and there is a new link under construction which will nearly double that.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 27, 2020 3:39 pm

        The French have been importing pretty much flat out at 3GW from Spain since the wind died. Also, they had been importing from Germany, but that has now completely fallen away. I’m working on some charts of the Gridwatch data to see if I can illustrate what the driving forces for cross border flows may be.

  10. ThinkingScientist permalink
    November 27, 2020 12:48 pm

    I am wondering if UKWindWeek is a secret coded message from National Grid?

    Its actually a cry for help!

  11. Joe Public permalink
    November 27, 2020 1:09 pm

    The wind is always blowing somewhere in Europe, its proponents boast.

    The day before UKWindWeek began, wind provided nearly 28% of Europe’s electricity needs.

    Yesterday, it produced just 9%

  12. November 27, 2020 1:54 pm

    The total for constraints payments in November to date is £47.75m., the highest monthly total so far That excludes the secret payments of course. Until someone finds a way of controlling the wind so it only blows when it’s needed, this insanity will continue.

  13. Paul H permalink
    November 27, 2020 2:50 pm

    Did the author above strike out in defence/promotion of home front fracking to support his hypothesis, which I agree with, regarding gas supply security?

  14. It doesn't add up... permalink
    November 27, 2020 3:42 pm

    A couple of charts on our gas imports:

    2019 share by origin

    History back to 2000 by origin

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 27, 2020 7:10 pm

      Great info, IDAU.

    • jack broughton permalink
      November 28, 2020 9:10 pm

      Is the Russian gas on the charts, the LNG that we import or the share in the European mix? So far as I know, the European grid will mix the Russian gas with North sea gas etc.. As Germany brings-in the increased Russian gas I suppose that it will become part of the Euro-gas that we buy at increasing price as coal disappears.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 28, 2020 11:23 pm

        As you will see, there is almost no import of gas from the Continent via pipeline (Balgzand to Bacton and Zeebrugge to Bacton) anyway. In fact, neither of those sources are positioned to take any Russian pipeline gas at all. Zeebrugge has an LNG terminal, which does discharge some Russian LNG, but the main feed is the Zeepipe from Norway: gas flows away from Zeebrugge inland. Balgzand, in the North of the Netherlands, is fed in the first instance by Dutch and British offshore North Sea fields (including Markham, which has a shorter pipe distance to shore than it would back to Blighty). It is not fed from the Groningen field, despite that being next door: that produces low calorific gas that is fed into a separate network. Just along the coast to the East are the landing points for major Norwegian pipelines into Emden and Dornum, which provide most of the supply, and again block the possibility of physical supply from Russian sources, although it is now possible to trade notional gas flows. There’s a good map of the Norwegian pipelines here:

        and an interesting article on reduced Russian supplies into Europe here:

        You should note that Gazprom has historically traded into UK availability in exchange for volumes ex Nordstream, but that physical gas comes from the North Sea. It is not Russian molecules. Gazprom doesn’t have any interest in Yamal LNG, which is a joint venture of NOVATEK (50.1%), TOTAL (20%), CNPC (20%) and Silk Road Fund (9.9%).

  15. Lez permalink
    November 27, 2020 4:03 pm

    The biomass contribution to our electricity generation has been 3GW over the last couple of days. Does anyone out there know how much CO2 this has released?
    Then of course there’s the CO2 produced by felling the trees, chipping the wood and shipping it across from the US. A significantly larger amount than burning coal I suspect.

    • Mack permalink
      November 27, 2020 4:43 pm

      By EU decree biomass burning is Co2 neutral because er, the Gauleiters in Brussels say so. Aside from the fact that biomass generators actually add considerably more Co2 to the atmosphere than our last remaining clean coal fired power stations by quantity and calorific value comparison, that doesn’t count because the coal molecules are just very, very naughty. Biomass Co2 molecules are fluffy and nice and, being politically correct, don’t count towards our GG emission totals. That’s modern politicised science for you.

      • Athelstan. permalink
        November 27, 2020 5:37 pm

        FFFFFFFfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffflippin eu green bollox.

      • Paul H permalink
        November 28, 2020 2:08 pm

        Having lived in France for seven years, I’m able to testify that almost all rural homes have log burners. For that reason, the EU is probably loathe to ban burning wood and come out with the risible excuses to justify wood burning. We consumed C.five stere (’s) each winter. Try telling a Frenchman he has to ditch his log burner – and stand back! There’s a saying that goes ‘You may sleep with my wife, but don’t you dare steal my wood!’ or words to that effect.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      November 27, 2020 5:48 pm

      Do you remember when greenies such as Greenpeace were banging on about not cutting down trees, not printing things out, save paper to save a tree etc etc.?

      Now we cut and burn tress on mass to being eco-friendly?

    • November 27, 2020 5:55 pm

      There’s a good discussion of the realities of biomass for electricity here:

      Click to access PFPI-biomass-carbon-accounting-overview_April.pdf

      The basic emissions are about 50% more than for coal, and 3-4 times more than gas. The kicker is you never seem to catch up with carbon sequestration because you are always cutting new fuel first.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 27, 2020 5:56 pm

        It is I….

    • Devoncamel permalink
      November 27, 2020 11:06 pm

      Lez, not forgetting the CO2 actually produced by burning the wood.

  16. John Edwards permalink
    November 27, 2020 4:26 pm

    Ultra windy days seem to be the rule rather than the exception,especially on our coasts,so I am sure wind power makes very good sense. I would not want to see us returning to coal apart from in historic steam engines.

    • Roy Banks permalink
      November 27, 2020 5:58 pm

      “Ulta windy days” may be the rule but when you have 3 consecutive days with virtually no contributiion from our windmills (as we have had regularly this last few months) you must have a plan to keep the lights on for these 3 days otherwise in winter we will freeze in the dark. That back up has to be ultra responsive if you insist on having these windmills and solar so the gas CCGTs are your only hope. Having invested in these CCGTs for strategic back up then only a moron would keep them sitting idle. If you chose batteries for backup instead you will need the entire world’s mining capacity just for the UK’s needs alone

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      November 27, 2020 6:11 pm

      An atrocious engineering solution to an unproven unlikely threat, an enormous waste of energy and resources that does not and cannot replace the fossil fueled infrastructure, the complete ruination/industrialization of vast tracts of the sea/landscape, felling of 14 million trees in Scotland alone, egregious toxic noise pollution, the slaughtering of millions of birds and bats and tons of insects, grid instability……… and all with massively electricity bill rises to pay for it. Sooner or later when conditions come together that means power cuts and thousands of people dying of cold, in addition to regularly increased excess deaths caused by fuel poverty.

      If that’s your idea of good sense, I’d love to know what sort of things you consider senseless?

      • Broadlands permalink
        November 28, 2020 1:36 am

        “Sooner or later when conditions come together that means power cuts and thousands of people dying of cold, in addition to regularly increased excess deaths caused by fuel poverty.”

        How could it be otherwise when Zero and NET-zero carbon emissions are the dedicated goals? How many billions of tons of CO2 would have to be buried geologically to even lower the atmospheric value by one or two PPM? Do the maths.

      • cajwbroomhill permalink
        November 28, 2020 7:04 pm

        Very realistically put. Applies also to ANY, EVERY “green” substitute for fossil fuel based energy supply.All that, coupled with the negligible output of greenhouse gases from the UK means the Establishment’s and Great and Good people’s judgements on climate policy are not only wrong but insanely
        We need people in charge with insight & unsusceptible to crazy groupthink.
        They are needed more desperately than ever by our beggared, b*ggered nation post Covid plague.
        Their AGW and climate beliefs need to be diametrically opposed to those of the likes of Attenborough, Deben, Ed Milliband and Princess Nut Nuts.

    • cajwbroomhill permalink
      November 27, 2020 9:09 pm

      You are joking, of course?

    • November 28, 2020 12:25 pm


      the sheer stupidity of closing viable coal generation stations is highlighted as we, if current policy is enacted, are putting all our fuel eggs in one basket. Sheer recklesness.

      Even if you accept the requirement for CO2 reduction, the amount emitted by coal generation is tiny but the insurance of reliable generation is well worth keeping. After all during the Beast from the East recently, coal was providing 25% of our power at times. Gas supplies are always tight in winter so we could well be on a knife edge in the future.

  17. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 27, 2020 6:12 pm

    I think they meant “Weak UKWind Week”.

  18. Mervyn Hobden permalink
    November 27, 2020 8:00 pm

    To parody a well known ryhme.

    “As Boris’s words demonstratum,
    He is a magnificent Fartum.
    When the wind doesn’t blow,
    And the windmills won’t go,
    Boris the Fartum can startem!”

  19. November 27, 2020 8:48 pm

    Anyone know it the STOR standby diesel resource has been used ?
    or does that only kick in for a few minutes each time ?

    • Joe Public permalink
      November 27, 2020 9:39 pm

      It’d be great if Elexon or any of the other electricity-generation data sites were to include STOR data.

      So far, I’ve not found one; maybe I’ve not been looking in the right place(s).

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 28, 2020 11:23 am

        They would have a vested interest in you not being able to find out how much they are used.

        My understanding was that the STOR was a sticking plaster to buy time to bring thermal plant online given that diesel generators will generate instantly. But there is no reason other than their cost is about the 3 times the normal rate for them not being able to run for a longer period – probably when it gets desperate.

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        November 28, 2020 1:21 pm

        STOR generator has to be at least 3MW (can be from multiple sites) must be able to run for 2hrs Have to be able to run up to full load within 4hrs but preferably within 20mins.

        They get an availability fee/MWh to sit there and energy supplied rate when on load.

        Most recent NG ESO data is from a few days ago so won’t know whether anyone was called upon yesterday til early next week. Looking back over history its has low monthly cost currently compared to the amount being expended on constraint payments.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 28, 2020 12:52 pm

      I think it may be difficult to unearth the truth on this. Much of STOR generation is multi purpose: it provides emergency backup, and also triad avoidance without having to be called into action formally by the Grid control room. As embedded generation operating behind the meter in triad avoidance mode it would only be visible as slightly lower demand.

      The monthly balancing reports do include some data on STOR spending.

      One way to go hunting is to check on data for 9th August 2019, when we had the blackouts. For example here

      and here

      However the triad system is being phased out so there will be other ways to hide the use of embedded diesel generation without formally counting it, under various schemes of aggregation of grid services..

  20. November 28, 2020 12:18 pm

    This is exactly why we should not have put a moritorium on hydraulic fracturing for gas. The benefits vastly outweigh any possible negative effects.
    When will we get a proper conservative government with rational thought, or any party for that matter?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 28, 2020 4:45 pm

      Perhaps they could start by taking a look at geothermal fracking. This chart has some details on what has been happening in Cornwall

      • Joe Public permalink
        November 28, 2020 8:58 pm

        “Perhaps they could start by taking a look at geothermal fracking.”

        But, but, but … earthquakes up to magnitude 4.0 will be permitted.

        That’s 3,100 times bigger, and 177,000 times stronger than the 0.5ML permitted for fracking for gas.

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