Wind Wars

The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre as seen from Balmedie Beach

The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre as seen from Balmedie Beach. Click for larger version. Picture is from http://www.vattenfall.co.uk/en/aberdeen-bay.htm

The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre as seen from Aberdeen Beach. Click for larger version. Picture is from http://www.vattenfall.co.uk/en/aberdeen-bay.htm

The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre as seen from Aberdeen Beach. Click for larger version. Picture is from http://www.vattenfall.co.uk/en/aberdeen-bay.htm

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:

  1. Coal – 548.7 GWh – 50.7% of the total – releasing 548,000 tonnes of CO2
  2. Gas – 266.3 GWh – 24.6% of the total – releasing 133,000 tonnes of CO2
  3. Nuclear – 203.4 GWh – 18.8% of the total – releasing (approximately) 0 tonnes of CO2
  4. 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.
I agree with her too, but I think she has underestimated the amount of crap that Mr Trump is full of by around 11%.
On a more serious note, as the pressure on energy prices increases – as I think it will – we need to be clear about the extent to which we are subsidising electricity generated by wind. I have been unable to find out the extent of the subsidy but I suspect is it is several pence per kilowatt hour – not quite as much as the solar energy feed in tariff (£0.41) , but still large. Obfuscation helps no one.

Resources

Advertisements

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: