Friday, January 08, 2010

About those wind farms Britain is planning to build,

I forgot to mention, what do you do when you depend on windmills and the wind doesn't blow?

And it's cold outside?

You think maybe the people somewhere else are going to be happy about having the power they need to keep warm diverted to you?

This time last year we were remarking on a not uncommon phenomenon in the UK – an almost total lack of wind. And here we are again, with the temperatures struggling to get above freezing and we have, effectively, a zero wind state - see below right.

The effect of this on the electricity generation system is evident from the latest status report (see above) which shows a predominant reliance on gas, which accounted for nearly half of total production in the last 24 hours, followed by coal at nearly thirty percent and nuclear at just under twenty percent.

Wind, in all its glory, managed to deliver a risible 0.4 percent – which is hardly even a rounding error and amounts to an insignificant contribution to the national electricity supply. Producing a mere 163 MW at around midnight last night, against an installed capacity of just over 4 GW, that represents a load factor of four percent

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