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No Wind In The Willows!

February 28, 2021

By Paul Homewood



The Saudi Arabia of No Wind!!




  1. Nordisch geo-climber permalink
    February 28, 2021 11:03 am

    Hold their feet to the fire Paul.

    A fairy-tale energy policy based on hypocrisy, stupidity and ignorance that defies the laws of physics, science, engineering, energy and grid scale economics.

    Of only value to fairies and unicorns, valuable for brainwashing and indoctrinating primary and secondary school children.

    The lunatics are running the asylum by a process of legalised scientific prostitution.

    • stevejay permalink
      March 4, 2021 2:45 pm

      Nordisch. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve fowarded your comment to my MP. (Not revealing your pseudonym.)
      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. JimW permalink
    February 28, 2021 11:08 am

    Too much when you don’t need it, not nearly enough when you do.
    Which is why our ancestors were so delighted to invent/use fuels that would be there when you needed them, in the quantity you needed and with the ability to turn them up and down as required.
    Now of course we are returning to our cold, damp dwellings to be ‘close to nature’ and save the planet.
    I suppose that the new techno masters will get round to levelling all of our existing dwellings and herd us into ‘chinese-style’ tiny apartments in which we can exist with a modicum of comfort as long as our social credit is high enough.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 28, 2021 3:32 pm

      “‘chinese-style’ tiny apartments”

      With the door locks on the outside.

  3. NeilC permalink
    February 28, 2021 11:24 am

    The GFS model for the 3/4thMarch shows hardly any isobars over most of Europe, so we won’t be getting anything from the interconnectors.

    • February 28, 2021 3:17 pm

      It doesn’t have to work like that. We’re importing 12-14% of our total electricity demand so far today.

  4. February 28, 2021 11:27 am

    When I was out cycling yesterday I went past a wind farm and several small wind turbines on farms. I saw that not a singe wind turbine one was turning. But when I stopped and looked carefully at the wind farm I could see the blades moving very slowly, much less than 1rpm. So they were obviously drawing energy from the grid (as they always do when not operating). I believe that they do not pay for any electricity consumed.

    • February 28, 2021 11:32 am

      Maybe you were cycling around Yorkshire?;1.2;5&l=wind-10m&t=20210228/1200

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        February 28, 2021 2:08 pm

        I had a cycle ride Derbyshire and part of Staffordshire this morning. The two windmills in th Derby Severn-Treant sewage plant and some little two blade jobs doing the same

      • February 28, 2021 8:12 pm

        I haven’t cycled for 68 years. I found a better way of travelling: faster, drier when it rained, less hard work when you were tired and very enjoyable – especially when carrying an attractive passenger by your side.

  5. GeoffB permalink
    February 28, 2021 11:31 am

    Forecast is 5 more days with little wind, Weather mild though so not much demand at weekend, interconnectors are flat out though. It is only a question of, when is the grid going to go down? 3 things, no wind, cold,and overcast, a fault causing a trip, ROCF trips cascade, plants trip out, embedded trips out…….. BLACK START…..5 days to get it all up and running again…..never going to happen …..go talk to Texas, loads of litigation going on…5 ERCOT board members already resigned and excessive prices, actually reached $9 per kWh . The business model they use for pricing is the same as BM reports uses, it was devised by academics, experts in game theory, say no more, Not only does the power go off the price goes astronomically high. What a MESS. ( Rate Of Change Frequency)

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 28, 2021 2:13 pm

      Okay then Geoff what do you think of this for an idea – civil “disobedience” to deliberately crash the GB grid? Remember the fuel protests in 2000 when some lorry drivers and farmers managed to halt petrol and diesel supplies and almost bring the country to a standstill. They achieved the end result of slowing down the fuel price escalator.
      So the Infrequent Infeed Loss Limit (IILL) is now set at 1800MW (but I bet NG don’t actually hold to that at times) so if enough people (on a 100amp) supply could simultaneously switch on heavy load appliances (electric showers/heaters/hobs/ovens etc) then each household could close to a sudden surge of 24kW. That is way higher than any old fashioned “TV pickup”. The maths is such that it would not be difficult to break the IILL by enough people taking synchronised action. Further more if the grid did manage to power up to meet the demand then the sudden simultaneous switch off would bounce the frequency into over frequency. I guess the difficulty would be ensuring simultaneous action….but I have been working on ways to organise that!
      Fancy being a co conspirator.

      • GeoffB permalink
        February 28, 2021 3:07 pm

        Could use a tv program to do the synch switch on, off might be a problem but if the grid does crash…problem solved. But I do not think employing XR tactics woulg gain us much support, much better to try and educate.

      • Stonyground permalink
        February 28, 2021 5:48 pm

        The problem is that it could easily be proved that we did it on purpose which would give them the perfect get out of jail free card.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 28, 2021 3:03 pm

      Couple of points. 5 days to rebuild a grid from black start? You’ll be lucky. Measured more in weeks heading into months as you have to bring everything back online slowly to avoid another trip. That is why they were so lucky in Texas as the death toll would be still climbing otherwise.

      I think you meant to $9000 not $9. But it gets worse as iceagenow shows that Dementia Joe’s term refused to let Texas use their own capacity to ramp up output but forced them by emissions regulations to buy in from out of state at much higher costs of $1500 Mwh instead of $18.20. And what’s more their RHINO ersatz Rebulicans fell for the ‘never see winter again in Texas’ crap and helped block winterisation of the grid.

      • GeoffB permalink
        February 28, 2021 3:22 pm

        Who knows how long black start would start, there is a procedure for it somewhere on NG site 5 days would get some islands of power back. The true problem is cold load inrush surge and the capacitance of the grid, you cannot restart with inverter power from interconnectors, batteries and wind farms as the semiconductors cannot withstand overloads for more than a few milliseconds. Only alternators driven by turbines (steam/water) can withstand the overload initially about 5 times normal which decreases to normal in about 30 seconds. They get hot but plenty of thermal mass, ($9 per kiloWatt hour I converted as we are billed for kW in UK)

  6. February 28, 2021 11:35 am

    Surely due diligence before embarking on the failed wind/water powered renewables should have included the vital proving (or disproving) pilot studies?

    Why were these never done in the many countries adopting these fraudulent methods and equipment for electricity generation?

    Imagine flying in an untested airliner!

    • Mack permalink
      February 28, 2021 5:25 pm

      I recall reading a report back in 2004 from German engineers from one of their major energy outfits, as the Energiewinde policy was ramping up, estimating that they would require at least 80% conventional back up for every unit of wind capacity added to their grid. In reality, because of seasonal doldrums, that would actually mean 100% conventional back up. I dare say that wasn’t the answer the green tinged politicians were looking for and they ploughed on regardless. It is only latterly that the German government have realised their folly, hence the opening up of new lignite mines and the Nordstream gas deal with the Russians.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 1, 2021 10:12 am

      They’re saving the planet, so anything detracting from that, is disinformation from fossil fuel concerns!

  7. February 28, 2021 11:38 am

    This problem can be solved with energy storage technologies currently under development.

    • February 28, 2021 12:53 pm

      Link to the technologies under development to address the intermittency of renewables.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 28, 2021 8:44 pm

        chaam you need to run the numbers on some of your suggestions, PCM thermal energy storage has a very low energy density. Sure it is more than sensible thermal storage but still doesn’t scale up,

      • February 28, 2021 10:18 pm

        I will do that. Thanks.

    • StephenP permalink
      February 28, 2021 2:20 pm

      How much battery backup will we need, for how long, and how will we recharge these batteries once they have given up their charge?
      Several times this winter we have had runs of four days with very little wind, and we would need a large surplus of wind generation to recharge the batteries as well as providing the normal requirement of electricity once the wind starts blowing again.
      Then a moot point, what do these surplus generators do when they have recharged the batteries? Will they get paid for power they could generate as seems to happen now when the wind blows too strongly and some have to close down?

      • February 28, 2021 2:35 pm

        The technologies being developed aren’t really batteries but various ways to store energy from excess generation described as Thermal Energy Storage (TES), Pumped Heat Electricity Storage (PHES), and thermal energy storage with Phase Change Material (PCM). These are alternatives to pumped hydro . The generation facility must be sized for the excess generation needed as in pumped hydro.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 28, 2021 4:43 pm

        Down in the US South (primarily Texas), they made use of an energy store that delivered about 45TWh of energy in a week. Natural gas storage provided some 156bcf in the week 12-19th February in the South Central region (and 338bcf across the lower 48).

        Those who owned the gas in storage that was released are the prime beneficiaries of the high prices for energy during the cold snap. Fill up at $3/MMBtu, sell out at $300/MMBtu. It was the storage that kept lights on and homes heated, until power cuts reduced their ability to deliver.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 28, 2021 3:41 pm

      “This problem can be solved with energy storage technologies currently under development.”

      Nonsense. “Under development” means they are not proven. You merely speculate.

      Regardless, it is impossible to size “storage” to overcome all potential risks. Storage costs money and produces nothing.

      And who pays for it? You can’t make any money off something that just sits there month after month. Return on investment would approach double ought zero.

      • February 28, 2021 3:47 pm

        “Nonsense, under development means they are not proven”

        Correcto, senor.

  8. tomo permalink
    February 28, 2021 11:40 am

    Has anybody worked out how much hydrogen would be electrolysed by the present fleet of windmills and what impact that would have on transport going forwards (if the transport fleet were FC-EV)?

    Time to test run the generator?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 28, 2021 4:45 pm

      First approximation: zero. OK, perhaps we can add up the subsidised pilot plants. Still zero, I suspect.

  9. February 28, 2021 11:46 am

    “The wind always blows somewhere” is a masterpiece of deception, often deployed by renewable zealots. One big problem with it is that wind farms are never deployed everywhere, they are deployed only where the wind speed is maximum, in order to maximise the yield of subsidies. A glaring example of this problem is in South Australia, where an awful lot of its wind farms are in the hills near Adelaide. Texas and the UK also have relatively small regions containing most of the wind farms.

    The consequence is the wind power lulls illustrated in this article.

    Robert Socolow of Princeton Uni made a great suggestion, that wind power lulls should be given names, like what is done for storms, due to their potential to cause disruption. What fun to force the Met-Office/BBC to adopt this suggestion.

    Socolow analysis of Texas wind power lulls:

    • February 28, 2021 3:24 pm

      “The wind always blows somewhere”

      Not much use when all your interconnector chums are under the same high pressure system that you are.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        February 28, 2021 3:50 pm

        Not in Victoria, where the local government’s enthusiasm for wind has got them the most turbines for any State; 24 “farms” (about 1200 turbines) with a capacity of 2294MW. On Saturday for over 7 hours they delivered a combined maximum of 100MW (and a minimum of 13MW).
        The highest it has ever been is 1350MW, and that was for one five minute recording period ….. in the last YEAR.
        Fortunately they have enough brown coal fired generation to keep the lights on, but the politicians want to shut them down.

  10. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 28, 2021 12:05 pm

    Jolly lucky the demand is so low

  11. Cheshire Red permalink
    February 28, 2021 12:21 pm

    Is this for the entire UK? Could you just clarify please?

    Either way it illustrates the stupidity going-on criminal recklessness of relying so heavily on intermittent wind.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 28, 2021 1:26 pm

      It covers GB excluding some islands in Scotland.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 28, 2021 2:17 pm

      The data if for the GB Grid (as in England, Scotland and Wales. Norther Ireland runs on Eiregrid and is not shown on the Gridwatch figures

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      February 28, 2021 2:17 pm

      Currently wind for the entire UK is at 0.91GW, 2.72%, fortunately it’s Sunday with demand at 33.48GW as opposed to over 41GW earlier this week.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        February 28, 2021 7:42 pm

        As at 1930 GMT it’s 5% — less than half what is coming from the three continental interconnectors. The idea that wind/solar/ wood chips can ever be anything more than bit players in a constant, reliable energy supply is farcical!

  12. Broadlands permalink
    February 28, 2021 12:47 pm

    Whatever happened to the polar vortex? Or the “Beast from the East”?

    • dave permalink
      February 28, 2021 1:38 pm

      I believe the polar vortex is still disrupted from the Sudden Stratospheric Warming, two months ago. The Beast from the East is alive and well – but it stayed in the East.
      Very cold in Asiatic Russia. Likewise in Canada. In short a bendy jet-stream still.

      I think we should give the nod to Piers Corbyn, who was just about the only person who predicted this sort of thing – years ago. It was based on his idiosyncratic ideas about the magnetic influences of the Sun. I have not found his forecasts for England to be especially good. I think that is because, being on the extreme West of Europe, there are too many influences from the Atlantic, and sometimes the blocks of air from the North simply miss us.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 28, 2021 3:19 pm

        Piers does well with his forecasts for larger areas but I too found the UK ones were not so good other than his forecasts for upticks in solar wind and where this could drive standard met forecasts to deliver more than they said. Still, he deserves credit considering his budget compared to what is wasted on the Met Office and their junk.

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 28, 2021 1:24 pm

    The winds died yesterday. Being a weekend, demand is a bit lower than during the week. It was still enough to cause a price spike up to £180/MWh in the early evening.

  14. Crouqetteer permalink
    February 28, 2021 1:43 pm

    but but but the sun is shining!

    • dave permalink
      March 1, 2021 9:08 am

      I imagine that sunshine and wind (during the day!) have a negative correlation in Britain, and therefore if one is absent the other can partially compensate. You would need to know it for each season. I do not know if anyone has actually calculated this. A rational decision maker would demand such estimates, before going “all in!” , would not he?

      We have sailed through this winter without problems (except endemic high prices) but, as we all know, some future winter we will have a completely different balance between demand and supply.

  15. ianprsy permalink
    February 28, 2021 2:05 pm

    “Of only value …” You forgot the gravy train.

  16. dennisambler permalink
    February 28, 2021 2:26 pm

    Its not as if this is something we didn’t know about…

    The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal-Mines Author: William Stanley Jevons: Macmillan and Co., 1866.

    “The first great requisite of motive power is, that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when and where and in what degree we desire. The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

    Before the era of steam-engines; windmills were tried for draining mines; “but though they were powerful machines, they were very irregular, so that in a long tract of calm weather the mines were drowned, and all the workmen thrown idle. From this cause, the contingent expenses of these machines were very great; besides, they were only applicable in open and elevated situations.”

    • MikeHig permalink
      February 28, 2021 4:23 pm

      Thanks for that quote.
      Over 150 years on and we still have not learnt that very simple lesson.

    • Mack permalink
      February 28, 2021 5:32 pm

      Great find Dennis.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 28, 2021 9:50 pm

      While on the subject of Jevons, look up Jevons Paradox, if you don’t already know about it. It is a very interesting phenomena.

      • dave permalink
        March 1, 2021 11:47 am

        Yes, thank you for the quote.

        It was obviously true of the simpler economy of Victorian England, but is it less true of a modern economy – or more true? On the one hand, technology and education make us, theoretically, more nimble and adaptable. But the constant interference of noisy, silly, fools in everything and their fierce, emotional desire to “cancel” much of our culture make it less so.

        I have never read the book. I only knew of it as an example of a false alarm.

        The ‘Jevons Paradox’ seems more a simple deduction than a paradox.

  17. Ray Sanders permalink
    February 28, 2021 2:27 pm

    Interestingly the next Gen nuclear boys have sussed out how to jump on the band wagon (thank God for that at last) and Moltex are now pushing their Molten Stable Salt Waste burners with salt storage as Grid Balancers ” for renewables. Play them at their own game strategy.
    Furthermore our good friends at Rolls Royce have sussed out “carbon free” synthetic hydrocarbons.
    And even EDF are now partnering with ITM for electrolysers at Sizewell C and are looking to hook up with Climeworks for a Direct Air Capture plant as well.
    The Greens (aka climate change denying anti nuclear activists) are going to get really upset with the nuclear industry soon pissing on their fireworks. Expect protest demos et alia soon.

    • MikeHig permalink
      February 28, 2021 4:59 pm

      Ray S: it’s a nice thought but we will have been shivering in the dark for many years by the time any of those new designs come on line, if they ever do.
      From the website: “Moltex is on its way to having an operational reactor by 2030.”
      RR expect to have their SMR ready to sell by about the same time.
      So we are talking 2035 at the very earliest.

      As for that Climeworks scheme, is it April 1st?!

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 28, 2021 9:15 pm

        Prior to Covid there had never been a virus against a virus. Don’t forget RR have been making PWR reactors since the early 1960s.
        The whole nuclear sector is undergoing rapid transformation.

    • February 28, 2021 8:48 pm

      There is a rule about these magic technological claims
      ‘It works when you see a real world full scale one actually working
      Looking at computer model projections and laboratory experiments is not the same’

      But Russia already has a mobile nuclear power station on an icebreaker.

    • MikeHig permalink
      February 28, 2021 10:44 pm

      Ray S: quite agree that things can be done in double-quick time when there’s the will and when the circumstances merit extraordinary efforts. War time history is full of such exploits, for example.
      Much as I would like to see SMRs given high priority (I spent 5 years in the nuclear power game), I am not hopeful. The approval process is bound to take a very long time as this will be seen as “new” and “first of a kind”. (RR have stated that their design has nothing in common with the plants they build for subs apart from the overall concept).
      Their cause won’t be helped by other countries turning their backs on nuclear power: Germany in 2022; Belgium by 2025; Sweden thinking about it; even France talking of cutting their dependence (unlikely seeing how much they are spending on refurbs).

    • A man of no rank permalink
      March 1, 2021 3:35 pm

      Thanks Ray, my niece should soon be leaving University with her Engineering degree. Have now suggested she looks at Rolls Royce and Moltex for future-proof jobs.
      Carbon free hydrocarbons/kerosene – doubtful, but at least it will revolutionise Chemistry teaching!

  18. February 28, 2021 3:52 pm

    Despite the wind being no more reliable or consistent in Scotland than anywhere else the country is being increasingly over-run with huge windfarms containing ever taller turbines. Thanks to David Cameron, English communities can influence planning decisions over windfarms. Thanks to the SNP the Scottish government increasingly over-rules local decisions despite regular press reports on the lack of democracy. Communities raise money to pay for expert advice but can never afford as much as the developers. Bribery is now automatic in the planning process as developers offer millions of pounds to persuade communities to support their applications; the government turns a blind eye. A community can object in hundreds to a local windfarm application, supported by their local Council but now usually over-ruled by the Minister. Developers have a right of appeal; the public has none apart from unaffordable Judicial Review which usually fails. All too frequently there is no requirement for the electricity so windfarms are paid millions to switch off.

    Protestors produce evidence of serious health effects to themselves and their animals – all ignored. Their homes become unsaleable so they cannot escape. Who would buy a house surrounded by windfarms on all sides up to 270m. high? The landscape is trashed; millions of trees felled; deep peat dug up, millions of birds, bats and insects killed – to save nature and the planet??

    A reliable supply of electricity is needed 24/7 these days and neither sun nor wind can satisfy this. Unfortunately for too many, including politicians, it is both politically incorrect and socially unacceptable to object to renewables and deny the “climate emergency”.

    • heriotjohn permalink
      February 28, 2021 5:51 pm

      After a hiatus in wind farm applications, they are back with a vengeance in the last few months. There are three s36 applications (so in excess of 50MW) in close proximity to our community, all of which will require scrutiny and hard work. All with turbines at 180m or higher. That is after fighting off two recent smaller applications that were highly unsuitable. It is a relentless treadmill.
      So much for Boris’s 10 point plan stressing offshore wind. Developers are putting forward schemes all with turbines at 180m upwards right across Scotland, and as pointed out already, succesful local opposition is often overruled by Reporters and/ or Scottish Ministers. It seems our only hope is that Salmond does so much damage to the SNP cause that there is a change of government shorlty, but that is a pretty forlorn hope.
      Is there a point at which public opinion starts to shift? How many hills have to be built on? But by that point it will be too late of course.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 28, 2021 9:01 pm

        “Is there a point at which public opinion starts to shift? How many hills have to be built on? But by that point it will be too late of course.”
        Earlier on this thread I have discussed a “civil disobedience” option to highlight the problems being caused. Basically it involves deliberately crashing the GB grid to demonstrate the problems. Organisations like XR are happy to use direct action, would you be willing to join such action on this?

      • March 1, 2021 7:58 am

        People die when grids crash, a city without power would be a crime nightmare.

  19. March 1, 2021 9:38 am

    Renewables except nuclear power are competely superfluous in every wa unless you are making money from them!

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      March 1, 2021 11:47 am

      I disagree, they have a role.
      If I lived somewhere hot & sunny, then solar panels to power aircon would be sensible, if the price was right. Off-grid, both wind & solar would make sense.

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