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The windmills were a great idea. Not.

July 13, 2013

As of this moment (coming up to 2AM on a Saturday morning), wind power is only capable of meeting 1% of the UK electricity demand at a time of about the lowest demand. The “right-minded” folk would like you believe that it’s 20 – 40%.

As I write, the entirety of UK generated wind power, according to the excellent Gridwatch web site is 0.26 GW (gigawatts). It has been a bit higher than that over the last 24 hours, but hasn’t exceeded 0.5 GW. It has crept over 1 GW a few times over the last 7 days. The maximum ever is about 5 GW, and is a very rare occurrence.

The supporters of renewable energy in the UK would have you believe that because the wind turbines can theoretically produce over 9 GW of electricity, that is what they do all the time. Yippee! That’s about a third of the current (low) demand. The reality is that they are currently producing 2.7% of that level, and 1 % of a very low total demand. They can go even lower than 1% of total demand.

DECC (The Department of Energy and Climate Change) think that there is currently about 9.7 GW of installed onshore and offshore wind generation capacity (pdf table 6.1 on page 5, or xls, sum of cells R6+R7 on “Main Table”.)

UK electrical demand is currently (at 1:40 AM) 26.2 GW. This is about as low as it goes. It can peak at around 50 GW in winter.

I’m somewhat sceptical as to the wisdom of spending a tonne of money on wind turbines.

I should probably graph the data or something, but for 1% it’s not worth it. Not even sure it isn’t rounding error.

Oh, it is, however, in the 20-40% range of the relatively small amount of nuclear power we import from France.


From → energy

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