Sunday, 12 October 2014

92 Continuous Days of LoLo Wind - That's EverSoLo Electricity from Wind Turbines!

From the same website, it's possible to calculate the average power over that period. I worked it out. It was:
1.171 GW

A Capacity Factor of 13.4%

It's also possible to calculate that Gridwatch Templar monitors 78% of the 11,183 MW capacity shown in a report on this webpage:     renewableUK Reports     Scroll down to 'Wind Energy in the UK 12 November 2014'' (Page 15/Totals/UK wide). 

From this webpage:     renewableUK Wind Energy Database     it is possible to calculate that the average wind turbine is 2 MW in size. So the number of turbines monitored by Gridwatch Templar is 78% of 11,183 MW ÷ 2 MW
That's 4,361 Wind Turbines
So - FOR 3 MONTHS - They each supplied:     269 kW

That's just about enough to boil:     90 Kettles

400 feet High and 1000 tonnes of Concrete and Steel  
To Boil 90 Kettles!

At what point do Politicians recognise the Societal and Environmental Insanity of this technology?


  1. Did you check what solar was doing at the same time? (in the summer...) And what happened when the nuclear reactors went off line due to cracks? All power sources are intermittent - that's why you need a mix.

    Also you're confusing power with energy. I typically boil a kettle for 5 minutes but if I did it continuously I'd be using twice the energy my house needs each year.

  2. UK solar - at under 7% capacity factor over the year - I don't imagine it was too much!

    You do know how fallacious the argument of an unanticipated loss of a base load power plant is, compared to 3 months without wind, don't you! I won't elevate your attempt at a comparison by arguing the point.

    I'm not confusing the amount of resources used trying to harness dilute sources of energy, compared to the essential concentrated form (using minimum resources for cost and emission reasons) of any appliance using that electricity. Have a look at:

  3. Colin you haven't answered my question - it doesn't take a genius to work out that solar produces a lot more power in the summer which helps offset lower wind production....

    And why is it fallacious to look at the loss of large monolithic power plant for months off the grid? Are you saying you wouldn't need back up for that?

    Finally do know how much energy is used to make a tonne of concrete (<100kWh), steel (400kWh) and how much energy a turbine produces (8,000,000kWh/year for a 3MW turbine)? The energy payback for a wind turbine is of the order of 12 months or less and then once it's up you don't need any fuel... Wind turbines aren't the answer to everything but using them to displace imported fossil fuel generation to the maximum extent possible makes a lot of sense to me.

    Mind you I guess I shouldn't expect a sensible debate on a blog called the idiocy of renewables!

  4. On our Sun-deprived little island, solar pv is never going to be more than a trickle - and even less when the tariff scam ends. Now solar heating panels for hot domestic water is fine by me, for anyone with the capital.

    80 years of the National Grid with a virtual 100% record of supplying electricity 24/7, on demand. To do this - a carefully calculated capacity of base-load plant, backed-up by a carefully calculated, minor % of over-capacity to guarantee supply over periods of both planned maintenance and unexpected off-line events. This is at one end of any spectrum you care to construct, compared with 100% back-up required for renewables. Don't demean yourself by trying to insert this deception into your arguments.

    1 ton of CO2 for every ton of cement. So, 1 ton of CO2 for every 5 ton of concrete. Wind power uses 3.5 x more concrete than nuclear power, per kWh generated (it also uses 16 x more steel):

    Environmentally, what's the point in using multiples of our precious resources (with attendant pollution, CO2 emission and eco-system and wild life destruction) on a technology that offers no advantages in terms of the ultimate goal - emission-free energy?

    Is this anywhere near your the standards you set for sensible debate?

  5. Similarly not-so-sun-drenched-Germany produced 35TWh of electricity from solar last year (equivalent to more than 10% of UK demand). Most of it in the summer, balancing when wind production was lower. It's also continuing to rapidly reduce in cost with the lowest price bid worldwide last year for a large plant being just 6c/kWh with no government assistance.

    With regards to the multiple of CO2 you claim for a wind turbine I think you might just be ignoring the fact that the fuel for nuclear reactors is a mined resource that has to be extracted at very low concentrations, refined, centrifuged, made into fuel rods and transported. All this uses energy and produces CO2 so you're not really comparing apples with apples in just looking at the CO2 content of the materials used in construction. In addition to this is the need to keep old plants maintained for years after until radioactivity has died down, then dismantled and the waste transported and stored indefinitely all adds more CO2. Now I'm not saying that any of this is especially significant compared to the vast amounts of CO2 spewed out of a conventional fossil fuel plant but I think you'll agree you're not quite comparing the same thing in just looking at raw materials used for construction (also the raw materials themselves you're comparing are also not necessarily the same CO2 content since very high grade steel and concrete has to be used in reactors). Most studies put wind and nuclear in the same ball park for emissions per kWh produced - from an emissions perspective they both achieve the same aim. However the advantage of renewables is that they can make a difference now - rather than waiting the years and years it seems to need to build a nuclear plant.

    Finally on your last point on backup can you point me to how much new backup plant has been built to cope with the increase in renewables over the last few years? I guess we should have 19.7GW of new plant now in addition to the 19.7GW of renewables currently installed if 100% back is required. Or perhaps the carefully calculated amount of backup by National Grid can also be carefully calculated based on the statistical probability of certain amounts of generation being supplied from a mixture of different renewable sources geographically dispersed throughout the UK in combination with existing assets? The statistical probability of 300 x 3.6MW wind turbines all going wrong at the same time for months and months on end is extremely low but the statistical probability of a 1GW nuclear power station going wrong and being offline for months and months is much higher - particularly if they were built at the same time and suffer from similar age related problems like cracking as we have actually experienced in the UK (but which the grid had sufficient back up to cope with). I also know this because I've experienced this in Cape Town where there were rolling blackouts when the nuclear plant broke down and we had to wait a year or so until spare parts could be made in France, shipped out and fitted to the plant. Now tell me where the deception is?

  6. I have a plan which offers "100% renewable power generation, even during periods of no-wind"

    Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020

    So the question is, would my plan work for this "92 continuous days of lolo wind" period?

    My first observation about this page is about the statement


    If you look at the actual plots on the gridwatch.templar website from where the statistics were taken

    It is clear that the wind power graphs top out at around 6GW.

    The reason for the discrepancy is that 50% of wind power is not monitored by the gridwatch website. 50% of windpower is manifested as a decreased demand on the gridwatch website.

    Hover your cursor over the wind power meter to read the explanation.

    So if the 1.171 GW average for the period is as a percentage not 1.171/10.5 or 11.1% (this page has "11.3%") but rather
    1.171/6 or 19.5% then that's a different matter and a different wind power capacity factor altogether.

    My plan delivers maximum power demand of 6GW on 20% power of 30GW maximum, so 19.5% is not far off offering that and anyway maximum peak demand is a maximum and 6GW is not required on average.

    So it looks like the wind power is enough on average, but there could be times for a number of days where average capacity drops below well below 19.5% and the reservoirs would be drained down.

    Scotland also has an additional 1.2 GW of natural flow hydro-power available. Additionally, my plan has a 2 GW bio-mass burning power station at Longannet to top up power deficiencies.

    So my guess is that a renewables-only solution for this time period is possible.

    In any case, in emergencies, the gas-fired power stations at Peterhead and Cockenzie could be fired up and the system could provide fossil fuel power for ever and a day.

    So yes, my plan would work and keep the lights on but as to how many times the stand-by power stations would be needed would require a detailed study.

    Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020

    1. This is the last paragraph of an email I sent to the author of Gridwatch Templar and his brief reply:

      "...May I respectfully suggest that you consider changing your Drop-down panel '50%' to '22%'?

      Thanks again and regards,

      Colin Megson.
      Mmm. yes some big metered sites have come online since I wrote that. I will have to reassess the numbers.

      It wont be immediately. :-(..."

      I have changed this post to show the capacity factor now at 13.4%. To deliver your planned 6 GW, to cover future 3 month periods of low wind, you would need 6/.134 = 45 GW of installed capacity - that's 50% up on your plan value, which would probably affect your costings.

    2. The recent link you tried to attach to your recent text

      State of the Industry Report 2014.



      Is a not a web link but a local link and therefore useless.

      Therefore your statement

      "It's also possible to calculate that Gridwatch Templar monitors 78% of the 5,570 x 2 MW turbines making up the 11,183 MW capacity '30 June 2014 snapshot' (Page 15) from this site:"

      has no reference here and so appears to be unsupported.

      Perhaps you will correct the link at your convenience?

  7. This:
    gives you an 'Operational' turbine capacity of 12,119 MW and 'Energy Produced' of 29,534,391 MWh. From the MWh, over a year, 'Generating' turbine capacity works out at 3,369 MW = 27.8% Capacity Factor.

    It is reasonable to apply this capacity factor to the 30 June 2014 figure of 11,183 MW = 3,109 MW 'Generating' turbine capacity.

    Going to 'Download' on the Gridwatch Templar Website, and choosing 00:00 01 Jan 2014 and 23:55 31 Dec 2014 for wind-only readings, it is the possible to calculate the average at 2417 MW (AutoSum drop down, select 'Average')

    2417/3109 = 78%

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    3. You can get to your capacity factor of 27.8% more directly!

      UKWED Figures explained

      "Energy Produced (MWh/p.a.)

      This is calculated by multiplying the installed capacity in MW by the number of hours in a year (8760) and then multiplying this by DECC’s long-term average capacity factor for (onshore + offshore) wind (27.82%) expressed as a fraction of 1 (e.g. 0.2782). Source for capacity factors is Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) published annually by DECC."

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  9. With regard to how to deploy wind turbines, the picture used as the background on this page is an exemplar in "How NOT to deploy wind turbines". The phrase "wind farm" doesn't serve us well because it suggests grouping wind turbines together like a farmed crop. BAD IDEA!

    DON''T deploy wind turbines like trees in forest on flat land where they shelter each other from the wind.

    DO deploy them in lines, as pylons are, taking advantage of exposed high points and ridges.

    Lines of turbines should not be straight but be circular so as to always have some part of the line square on to the wind. It's a similar idea to the battle formations such as the infantry square or circular shiltron, where the troops needed always to have infantry men facing the enemy on horseback who could manoeuvre and come at the infantry from any direction.

    Thinking about formation of turbines is particularly to be borne in mind in offshore wind where there's no topography to discourage naïve people deploying in regular arrays or straight lines.

  10. On Gridwatch Templar, click the top left 'Download' button, which opens up 'Download Data Sets'. You can set any times and dates you want to cover, but just working with the displaced timeframe, click the top-left white 'None' button and the the white 'Wind' button - you'll only get the wind data then.

    Click the bottom 'Download' button and it download a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. Click on the 'C' column C and all of the numbers will be highlighted. Click the 'Formulas' tab and open the dropdown for 'Auto Sum', then click 'Average'. Scroll down to the bottom of the column of numbers to get the average figure.

    Click the dropdown arrow at the side of 'wind' (C1). In the pane with all the numbers ticked, scroll to the bottom and the biggest (MAX) is 6835. To locate this figure, just above the pane, hover over 'Number Filters' and from the box that opens, click 'Greater Than' - type in 6834, and it comes up with 6835 (C371140) 09 Dec 2014 19:45:02.

  11. Thanks Colin.

    I'm back and I've been busy, with spreadsheets. Not Excel though because I don't have Excel on my PC - only Microsoft Works Spreadsheet which is limited to 16K rows so not enough for 92 days at 288 rows a day = 26496 rows.

    There's a free limited time trial version of Excel available but that's not ideal unless I was going to buy so I looked for other free options.

    The free online Excel - cloud computing - didn't seem to read in .csv files so I looked for other free spreadsheets and made some progress with free online Google Sheets and please do check out my new blog post to see my line-graph and tell me what you think.

    Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power

    Thanks to you Colin for bringing your webpage to my attention and for casting enough doubt in my own mind about my plan to challenge me and inspire me to do better.

  12. Sorry to say, I'm no fan of wind and storage, to put it mildly. I've had a look and can't comment sensibly about your plans, I'm afraid.

    However, this link carries a paragraph from an article by a couple of obvious experts, which highlights the unlikelihood of any worthwhile storage ever being available to cope with a lot of wind capacity. Maybe you should contact the authors who came up with this:

    "...Peak excess production over a very windy 24 hours could be nearly 300GWh but Coire Glas could only handle 0.6GW. To absorb 12GW of excess generation would require at least 20 schemes of this size – but the geography and hydrology of such projects is so restrictive that it is not clear if there are any further suitable sites in the country, let alone 20..."

    1. In the context of your webpage, my point is that my wind and storage plan would work for the 92 Continuous Days of LoLo Wind - That's EverSo SUFFICIENT Electricity from Wind Turbines!

      Admittedly, it needs a whopping 42GW of wind turbines and 132GWh of pumped-storage to be installed in Scotland before it would work at a budget-busting cost of £60 billion or so.

      You may think spending £60bn would be more "Idiocy of Renewables" but I am curious to know if you think it possible I might have my modelling about right - does it look plausible to you, without pouring over the numbers yourself?

      Would it matter to you if my plan worked? Or is it just too expensive even if it worked perfectly and so therefore could never be of any interest to you Colin? I'd value your considered opinion as a well-informed sceptic.

      As for the article - one of the authors - Prof Jack Ponton FREng must be the "obvious expert" author

      but the other guy, John Williams who is Chairman of the Borders Network of Conservation Groups, looks to be no more than an organiser of NIMBYs whose contribution, my guess would be, was merely to provide the professor's fee for providing his expert opinion.

      The SSE's plan for Coire Glas is for an energy storage capacity of 30GWh and for a power capacity of 0.6GW.

      However the Coire Glas site itself is big enough to impound a much bigger reservoir - maybe even as much as 300GWh - and more hydro-turbo-pump power could be installed as well - all at much greater cost of course.

      Given that the modelling I have just completed indicates that only 132GWh of energy storage capacity would be required then I must note that - if one was prepared to put all one's eggs in one basket - though I do agree with the engineering principle of triple modular redundancy - that the ENTIRE REQUIREMENT FOR SCOTLAND'S PUMPED-STORAGE HYDRO COULD BE INSTALLED AT COIRE GLAS!

      So I don't think the prospects for renewables in Scotland are so threatening as the authors paint.

      I do agree with keeping Longannet open though because we need it for security of supply, especially so because not even the modest pumped-storage hydro scheme at Coire Glas is being built because of a failure of the UK to invest in the urgently needed pumped-storage.

      Scottish Renewables – "Pumped Storage – Position Paper"

      The threat to close Longannet does not come from renewables per se but from the unfair connection and transmission charges which the older power stations in Scotland are being forced to pay by the National Grid.

      SNP: "Transmission charges damaging energy sector"

      Longannet is being forced by the National Grid, Ofgem and the UK government to subsidise the new grid work required for all the new wind turbines in Scotland, which I think is more than idiotic - the National Grid charging regime should be declared "illegal" by the Scottish courts and that's what the Scottish government should send its law officers to court to get a court order for, in my opinion.

  13. If you accept that I could weep when I witness the desecration of pristine countryside by wind turbines, you should appreciate that I have no desire to spend time on analysing your plan.

    I am very pro-nuclear and see Gen IV breeder reactors as the future of energy supply for the planet - they have the capability to solve all of the worst problems facing humanity.

    We have a GE Hitachi PRISM reactor awaiting an NDA decision for its use to burn our plutonium stockpile. This can be configured as a Gen IV breeder, capable of 'burning' what the ill-informed and duplicitous call 'nuclear waste' and we have enough of that in the UK to provide all of the UK's energy needs for 500 years - that's electricity; process heat; liquid fuels; fertilisers. That's why I also host this:

    For your £60 billion, you could get 2 or 3 Hinkley Point Cs at 3.2 GW each and a likely capacity factor of >90%. I think your phrase 'budget busting' says it all - there doesn't seem much point in putting any more time into it.

  14. The "Green Fallacies" blog post How much Electricity storage would a wind-powered Britain need? examines the low wind period of September 2014.

    It seems the exceptionally low wind conditions over Britain during September 2014 have proved to be more challenging than any I had previously modelled, including the "92 Continuous Days of LoLo Wind" highlighted in this blog post.

    After further research, I found that with my new recommended -

    • store energy capacity = 1.5 days x peak demand power
    • annual maximum wind power = 7 x peak demand power

    the system modelled now has enough wind power and energy storage to cope with the very low wind conditions of September 2014.

    Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power