As I write this (5:00 p.m. on Saturday 11th February 2012) wind power is currently contributing just 0.24 GW of electrical power to the UK grid. This is equivalent to around a quarter of the output from a large modern power station. For the record, the main contributors to our electricity supply over the last 24 hours have been:
- Coal – 548.7 GWh – 50.7% of the total – releasing 548,000 tonnes of CO2
- Gas – 266.3 GWh – 24.6% of the total – releasing 133,000 tonnes of CO2
- Nuclear – 203.4 GWh – 18.8% of the total – releasing (approximately) 0 tonnes of CO2
- Wind – 16.8 GWh – 1.6% of the total – releasing (approximately) 0 tonnes of CO2
(1 GWh is the energy contributed when generating 1 GW, for 1 hour).
This is the nature of wind power. Stable weather systems associated with cold winter weather result in very little wind. But as I recorded previously, over the whole of 2011, wind power contributed more than 5% of UK demand – roughly equivalent to not operating 2 large modern power stations. And for several days in December 2011, wind power was generating over 13% of UK demand on that day (roughly 7 GW). In other words 7 large coal power stations could be rested for a few days and their carbon emissions avoided.
But despite this creditable performance, some people still hate wind power. The latest spat involves well-known environmentalist Donald Trump and would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. Mr. Trump has threatened not to despoil the West Coast of Scotland with a golf course and international resort hotel if wind turbines are built 1 mile out to sea! I do hope that Scottish Government will accept Mr. Trump’s offer because 11 Wind Turbines will do more for the environment than anything Mr. Trump has planned.
Wikipedia has a pair of quotes which (for me) sums up Donald Trump:
- Susan Mulcahy He was a great character, but he was full of crap 90 percent of the time.
- Donald Trump: I agree with her 100 percent.
- Article in the Scotsman
- Generation Data acquired using UK Energy App by Tom Weightman
- Real Time National Grid Data
- Vattenfall (The Developers) Web Site