This is the first in what I hope will become a monthly series chronicling the UK generation statistics from BM reports and Gridwatch that will be archived on the main menu bar above. As the database grows it will become possible to identify seasonal and temporal, policy driven, changes to the UK grid. But for now I will let the charts speak for themselves. Note that if you click on the charts you will get a very large version that opens in a separate browser window.
Figure 1 Coal, gas, nuclear, wind and imports kept the UK lights on in December. See Figure 3 for the vital statistics. The story is fairly simple. Nuclear provided a very stable base load averaging 7.6 GW. Coal was the biggest producer in Bright Green Britain averaging 12.8 GW and absorbing some of the load following strain, gas averaged 8.6 GW absorbing most of the load following strain including the diurnal demand and wind variance, wind averaged 3.9 GW and the wind blew quite consistently through the month and electricity imports via inter-connectors averaged 2.3 GW.
Peak demand was 51.8 GW early evening on 4th, 8th and 15th December. Minimum demand was 24.5 GW during the night on 22nd December. Peak was 2.1 times greater than minimum.
Figure 2 This rather busy chart shows the contributions to the UK grid in December described in the caption to Figure 1. Wind provided electricity but no control. Its main contribution is to undermine the commercial viability of those generators that provide the essential control.
Figure 3 The vital generating statistics. I still need to find out what the installed capacities are in order to work out load factors. [Dave Rutledge pointed out an error in the GWh total column that was corrected 08:50 on 16th Jan].
Figure 4 A pie chart visualising what I’ve already said.
And so to complete the picture a quick comparison with France. The main puzzle here is that France continues to produce electricity from gas and hydro at night, even when there is no demand for it, and at times when they are using nuclear surplus to pump hydro. Fritz?
Figure 5 French electricity supply from Gridwatch France. Net exports and pumping water are deducted from the nuclear base load.