Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wind power is still crap

There's a new report just been released on the topic of wind power, which is reported in the Telegraph. Timmy has got hold of the report and reassures us that the article gives a fair summary.
OK, so there’s ths paper come out about the actual effects of having lots of windpower on the UK grid. Yes, I’ve read the paper and yes, this article gives a fair enough summary.

So, what does the article say?
Written by an independent consultancy and funded by the Renewable Energy Foundation, the report says backup electricity plants will be needed to meet demand during calm conditions.

Published online in the journal Energy Policy, the study confirms concerns among critics that wind around Britain is too volatile to provide reliable energy.

Using wind data from the Met Office, researchers found that in January, when energy demand is highest, wind farms often fail to produce enough electricity, dropping on occasion to 4 per cent of their maximum output.

The report says: "Wind output in Britain can be very low at the moment of maximum annual UK demand. These are times of cold weather and little wind.

"Simultaneously, the wind output in neighbouring countries can also be very low, and this suggests that intercontinental transmission grids will be hard to justify."

The authors used data on wind speeds and electricity demand from the past six years to work out what impact 25 Gigawatts - about 16 per cent of Britain's needs—would have had on the national grid if it had been supplied by wind farms.

The results show wind is highly volatile. In January 2005, for example, wind speeds varied so much that demand on conventional plants would have varied from 5.5GW to 56GW.

In that month, a 1,000MW fossil fuel plant would have had to come on and offline a total of 23 times to make up the shortfall. At 6pm on February 2 2006—the point of peak electricity demand for the whole year—wind farms would have been unable to provide any power at all, researchers found.

It's pretty damning stuff, but hardly news to regular readers of The Kitchen or other half sensible blogs.
It comes after the Government last week unveiled a £100million plan to build at least 4,000 wind turbines, with a further 3,000 offshore. The programme is expected to drive household bills up by £260 a year.

This is rank stupidity; as Timmy says...
Now, could someone who really understands the science here (and preferably someone who supports the installation of wind power, if there actually be any people who are both) please explain something to me.

Why in buggery are we going ahead with wind? It doesn’t seem to solve any problems at great cost.

Good question, Tim. It is because our leaders, who were pig-ignorant in the first place, have been further deceived by snake-oil salesmen. Can an MP be removed on the grounds of insanity? Can they all be dragged from the House on the grounds of collective madness?

And can we hang them all yet?

Well, yes, some will say, but in the end, if we are so very concerned about the planet burning, no one is going to mind energy costs going up, eh? Who cares if a few pensioners die, or Africans can't get medication because they can't run the fridges to keep them?

After all, no one really gives a crap about the oldies or the darkies, do they? After all, what's the lives of a few million pensioners and some tens of millions of the world's poor against our precious fucking consciences?

And you just know that the fucking socialists are going to pop out of the woodwork and insist that people be more highly taxed to pay the power bills of the pensioners and the poor.


You want people to stop using so much power, so that we can save the planet, don't you? Then don't pay the damn power bills for them: let them die. It's for the good of the human race: better a few million of the poor and the old than the entire human race, right? Better the old and the poor should die than a few thousand animal evolutionary dead-ends should become extinct, is it not?

Here's the stark reality, chaps: we are going to beggar ourselves and murder millions to salve some lefty middle-class consciences. And when this AGW shit is shown to be the load of absolute fucking horseshit that it is, I hope that the enthusiasts—such as the odious and consistently wrong James Hansen—are put on trial for mass-murder.

UPDATE: thanks to Anonymous in the comments, who allows us the opportunity, once more, to yell, "don't these people have editors?" The Telegraph article states that...
... the Government last week unveiled a £100million plan to build at least 4,000 wind turbines, with a further 3,000 offshore.

Um, no. The government intends to spend £100 billion, not £100 million.


Anonymous said...

The stupid bloody windmill plan is 100 BILLION not 100 million I think. I hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Solution: Wear more jumpers...

No Anon it IS 100 Billion All from extra tax. Aren't we lucky to have such a dedicated bunch looking after us?

Meanwhile the Nation Grid is still loosing energy at a rate of knots.

Anonymous said...

For me, the killer with this plan is that those windmills are all full of cogs and gears. Which need oiling.

So when the oil finally runs out, all the windmills will stop too. Oh, I forgot - vegetable oil. We use food for energy these days, of course.

I'd be interested to know, if there's an engineer who can work it out, whether the energy generated by one of these things exceeds the total energy of its construction and ongoing maintenance. Including manufacture, delivery and installation of replacement gears and bearings etc.

I'd be in support of solar power if we had any sunshine here. It's great in the summer but no use in the winter, when you really need it. Anyone know how to get energy from rain? We seem to have no shortage of that.

Maybe we could fit turbines to politician's mouths. That's a lot of hot air going to waste, and the flow seems unstoppable.

John A said...

There was an article in my Norther neighbor's national press FRiday. An engineer converted a shed on his property into a solar energy station for his house, complete with batteries to store/supply power during non-solar events such as night or storms, for about $2000: I thought perhaps I have been wrong about the cost/benefit of solar.

Until I got to the third para, which is where we start to find the $2000 of his money was supplemented by -
1. a "research" grant of US $500000 (yes, half-million)
2. other grants of materials for re-roofing etc the shed
3. Greatly subsidized (or possibly free) solar panels
4. Greatly subsidized (or possibly free) batteries


Jones said...

Yet Blair is back in the Times spouting the same old half informed climate claptrap. However, might I recommend you read the comments before erupting in self righteous incandescence.

Looks like there are a lot more sceptics out there than you think.

Boy on a bike said...

I have no problem with people going green with their energy.

Thing is though, I would make them go 100% green. If they sign up for wind power, and the wind stops, the grid delivers them zero power. None. Nada. No failing over to coal or nuclear or gas. Just wind.

That would fuck them in short order.

Old Holborn said...

I work in Wind Energy.

And tomorrow, I am going to write a piece that I would like published here.

It will be witty, humourous, factually correct and it will show you that whilst "wind is highly volatile" in Britain, these people actually employ wind analysts, run yield forecasts and know damn well where the wind blows because their shareholders demand it. There are no wind farms in Surrey because the fucking wind never blows there. On the other hand, in the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the coasts of Scotland, the wind never stops blowing. Hence why there are wind farms either there (producing plenty of electricty) or planned.

Denamrk produces close to 45% of energy needs from Wind farms alone. Read that back to yourselves. 45%.

Go on, tell me their wind is more "reliable".

If building viable wind farms (and trust me, no one has ever closed one down because of lack of wind or considered building one where the wind doesn't blow) means less nuclear power stations, then I'll vote for it.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Just drop me an email, and I shall publish...


Anonymous said...

They use nothing but hydroelectric power in New Zealand, and they seem to be getting on ok. There's certainly no shortage of water back home, the place is sodden with it! Why not hydro? That's "green" and certainly sustainable.
I'm getting fucking solar panels and a back up generator or something when I come back anyway-the power bills keep increasing whenever the company wants to increase them.

Anonymous said...

What really bugs me about wind power is that it overshadows the much more obvious, utterly reliable, source that, as an island, we are totally surrounded by -- tidal flow. Just putting a barrage across the Severn would probably generate more power than all the windmills built or planned. And we're getting pissed about on that because of enviro-nutters worrying about displacing ducks !!!

Roger Thornhill said...

leg: [i]I'd be interested to know, if there's an engineer who can work it out, whether the energy generated by one of these things exceeds the total energy of its construction and ongoing maintenance. Including manufacture, delivery and installation of replacement gears and bearings etc.[/i]

Still waiting for pond life to back up his "3-6months" claim.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Roger not found root calculations yet (as been away for w/e) but BWEA have it down on their website as 6-8 months. I'll be speaking to a man this week who'll know.

purplepangolin said...

I don't know if this is feasible (any engineers who can comment?), but couldn't electricty generated from wind be used to electrolyse water to produce hydrogen and then use the generated hydrogen to produce electricty? This is obviously less efficient, but woul have the advantage of a more predictable source of energy and lower grid balancing costs.

Anonymous said...

Quite right purple it can, in fact a colleague is working on such a venture. It can be also used to pump water in pump storage schemes. Other interesting ideas include using our (soon to come) fleet of electric car as large scale battery storage - you plug em in to charge but can also be used as a reservoir of electricity the grid can draw upon in time of need. Its all exiting stuff imo.

Anonymous said...


Huntly Power station in New Zealand uses coal.

Anonymous said...

And Wairakei near Taupo uses geothermal heat.

Roger Thornhill said...

pond: looking forward to hearing more - BWEA figs need explaining too.

purple: that is what I suggested to the Orkney wind farm project many moons ago. Hydrogen or synthesizing other hydrocarbons so the islanders could run their heating and transport off it, so avoiding cash outflows from the local economy.

mark gardner said...

The answer is simple. When there's no wind, you turn on giant fans to produce the wind to generate electricity.

And to get the fans to work, all you need is a handy plug ...

purplepangolin said...

Not sure if this is the one pond life was on about, but looks interesting

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