Tag Archives: wind

UK Electricity 2050 Part 4: Nuclear and renewables cost comparisons

Guest post by Energy Matters’ commentator Alex Terrell. Part 4 of the series on designing a renewable or nuclear electricity supply for the UK in 2050, where parts 1 to 3 were co-authored with Andy Dawson. Here costs of the renewable and nuclear options are compared. The forecast based on BEIS’ median 2030 scenarios for renewables (wind+solar) comes in at £143 / MWh and for nuclear at £84 / MWh, for wholesale costs. Both costs will be a lot lower if the respective technologies improve as their advocates hope. Continue reading

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Green Mythology: adding different types of renewables smooths output

A favourite assertion of renewables enthusiasts is that intermittent supply can be smoothed by simply adding different types of renewable resource. How often have you heard “If it’s not windy then we can use tidal instead”. I present a simple renewable supply model for the UK that has 20 GW of tidal, 13.6 GW of wind and 8.8 GW of solar for a total of 42.5 GW installed capacity. When everything is on this outputs a maximum of 22.2 GW of power (52.2% load). When everything is off that falls to 0.9 GW (2.1% load). Those contemplating engineering the UK grid along those lines must surely be mad. Continue reading

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Net Energy Trends

In writing Wednesday’s post ERoEI for Beginners, I prepared a number of charts that were not used and these are presented here. Where it has been measured and according to the literature, the net energy of oil, natural gas and coal is falling everywhere. Surface mined US coal has one of the highest energy returns of any fuel and is substantially higher than deep mined Chinese coal. In electricity equivalent (Eeq) form, Chinese coal is marching towards the Net Energy Cliff edge while US coal remains far from it. The image shows part of a 50 km long queue of coal trucks in China. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of UK Power Supply

UK Grid Graphed provides a graphic summary of daily, monthly and annual UK electricity generation from 2012 to 2015 based on BM Reports as archived by Gridwatch. This post provides an overview of the UK Grid Graphed resource and the key observations to be made from the data. In summary, coal generation is in steep decline to be substituted by rising wind, solar, biomass and exports. Demand for electricity is also falling and government should be concerned about the extent that this is caused by rising electricity prices and policy. Continue reading

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El Hierro, January/February 2016 update:

The Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity. The low-wind conditions that dominated during the last four months of 2015 continued into January 2016, leading to only 22% renewables generation in that month. Much of February, however, was characterized by strong winds, and combined with the 100% renewables tests that were performed this resulted in renewable energy supplying 54% of El Hierro’s grid demand in that month, exceeding the 52% achieved in June/July 2015. Continue reading

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A Note on UK Renewable Load Factors

This note compares Solar PV and wind load factors for the UK reported by DECC with those calculated from the Renewable Energy Foundation data base. In summary:
Solar PV UK (REF): 11.8%; Solar PV UK (DECC): 10.8%; Solar VP Scotland (REF): 9.0%; Solar PV England (REF): 11.9%
Onshore wind (REF): 26.3%; Onshore wind (DECC): 27.3%; Offshore wind (REF): 30.5%; Offshore wind (DECC): 37.3% Continue reading

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Green Mythology and the High Price of European Electricity

The price of residential electricity in the EU is correlated with the level of renewable energy installed on a per capita basis. The data shows that more renewables leads to higher electricity bills. The notion that renewable energy is cheap is one of five Green energy myths discussed. Continue reading

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The Renewables Future – A Summary of Findings

Since February 2014 I find that I’ve published 24 posts on renewable energy here on Energy Matters (linked to in order of appearance at the end of the post) . In them I’ve written about wind, solar and tidal power, hydro, biogas, hydrogen and methane, CO2 emissions, interconnectors, exports and imports, energy storage, load management, backup capacity and ramp rates….. Continue reading

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Decarbonizing UK Electricity Generation – Five Options That Will Work

Here I present five future energy options that employ nuclear, gas and variable amounts of wind to achieve large reductions in CO2 emissions while at the same time meeting UK demand in a typical winter month. Continue reading

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The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables

In the May 12, 2015 “G7 Hamburg Initiative for Sustainable Energy Security”, the energy ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said this: Continue reading

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Wind Blowing Nowhere

In much of Europe energy policy is being formulated by policymakers who assume that combining wind generation over large areas will flatten out the spikes and fill in the troughs and thereby allow wind to be “harnessed to provide reliable electricity” as the European Wind Energy Association tells them it will: Continue reading

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UK hits minus 13˚C and wind hits “zero” output

At 14:05 on 19th January the output from the UK’s 11.99 GW fleet of wind turbines dropped to 0.191 GW. This is effectively zero and it’s hard to believe it could get so low given that 4 GW are off shore. This translates to a wind load factor of 0.016 – effectively zero. Continue reading

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UK Electricity Supply, Christmas 2014

On Christmas Day, children began opening their presents at around 05:00 am in the UK. As the excitement gathered pace, the country’s coal power stations were fired up providing 38% of all the electricity consumed. Nuclear hummed along all day providing a steady 8 GW and 26% of the total. Clean burning natural gas was demoted to third place providing just 14% of the total whilst providing a significant share of the load balancing service. Coal, nuclear and natural gas combined provided 78% of UK electricity on Christmas Day. Continue reading

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Electricity supply, electricity demand and 100% renewables

Here we will examine a hypothetical scenario involving a diversified mix of renewable energy sources that supplies 100% of electricity consumption in unspecified future year 20XX in Atlantis, an imaginary island country that is very much like, but not exactly the same as, the UK. Continue reading

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UK Wind Power in The Doldrums

The lack of wind in the UK this year has already been in the news resulting in poor performance of UK wind farms. UK wind now has 11.2 GW [1] of installed capacity amounting to 13.5% of total generating capacity in the UK. In September the wind park generated 739 GWh amounting to 3.3% of UK demand [2]. The load factor was only 9%. Continue reading

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Blowout week 39

Blowout lite this week with 16 links mainly to renewable stories. The story that caught my eye this week describes a massive $8billion Wyoming wind to Los Angeles renewables plan that includes compressed air storage in constructed salt caverns in Utah. In my opinion, all renewables projects should be mandated to provide load balancing capacity either through storage or fossil fuel based back up. Continue reading

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The High Cost of Renewables

In this post I present “back of envelope” style calculations on the capital costs of renewables globally since 1998 and deduce that roughly $1.3 trillion has been spent installing wind turbines and solar panels. Is this a lot of money? Is it a wise investment? What else may we have we got for our money?

One perspective is that the same money would buy 50 Hinkley Point style pressurised water reactors. Continue reading

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Blowout week 36

Fracking in PA; Paul Nurse and Brian Cox dislike scepticism; BP on the rocks; “FREEDOM” for Scotland; Blackouts around the corner; China & India cool on climate talks; North Sea Fracking mad; 15 nukes in Ukraine give NATO headache; Wind records – really?; Floating solar in Japan. 33 stories in total this week Continue reading

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Hydro Balancing Wind in the UK

So why is the UK not using indigenous hydro to balance wind choosing instead to make curtailment payments to wind producers when the wind blows too much? I don’t know the answer. I suspect that turning hydro off would cause our rivers to run dry and producing flat out would produce floods. Continue reading

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Germany – the rural power station

We drove about 1000 kms through southern Bavaria and the Bavarian Alps and in that time we saw only 1 wind turbine, and that was just outside off Munich airport. The Bavarians have by and large protected their beautiful rural landscape from the ravages of the Energiewende. There is a lesson for Alex Salmond to learn here. Continue reading

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