A car wants to average 60mph climbing a 1 mile hill and then descending it. It only manages 30 mph on the way up. How fast must it travel on the way down?
CLICK if you don’t know the answer.
The UK, in 2012, had around 3600 wind turbines and successive governments’ stated intent has been to supply 20% of the country’s demand from ‘renewables’ by 2020.
Hence by 2020 the UK will need 21,176 turbines.
The developers of wind farms use similarly misleading statistic to extol the benefits of wind power. The most publicised is probably the number of houses a turbine (array) will supply. We’ll let a representative of Centrica explain how the 2.2GW array planned for the Irish Sea (Rhiannon) would have supplied 1,693,600 homes:
The industry standard used to predict output is agreed with the Advertising Standards Authority – and allows developers to quote anticipated generation from offshore windfarms over the most recently available 5 year period. We have looked at historical data from various wind farms which have been operating in the UK for many years. The data collected suggest 29% of the theoretical maximum output of a potential 19,272GWh. (the five year average load factor for offshore wind farms in the UK is taken from the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics: table 6.5, chapter 6, page 187). This means that we could expect to generate 5,580GWh. One gigawatt hour is equal to one million kilowatt hours (the units used on most household electricity bills).
According to recent Ofgem figures, the average household uses 3,300Kwh each year.
HENCE 5,580Gwh would meet the electricity needs of 1,693,600 homes annually.
This is valid only if:
The statement accepts that turbines only deliver (on average!) 29% of their quoted output.
Early in 2013, the government produced its Energy Trends report, of which Section 5 refers specifically to Electricity.
It reveals some interesting facts:
4th qtr consumption in 2012 was down 1.3% on 2012
Coal supplied power was UP nearly 50% at 34% of total
Oil was DOWN nearly 24% at 1% of total
Nuclear was up nearly 15% at 21% of total
Wind was up nearly 54% at 5.7% of total.
Onshore wind’s share of electricity supplied including net imports, was 3.2% for Q3 2012.
Total Power requirement - 80TWh
Supplied by all those Wind turbines - 4.7TWh
It is more difficult to determine what ISN’T a key issue than what is! If you can’t find what you are looking for directly, try the Search facility. This will find any occurrence of a word anywhere in the web site. (It won’t find words in the linked documents though.)
If you think there is a KEY ISSUE which we have missed, please email us. No promises, but we’ll look at it.
Claims that there is always somewhere in the UK where the wind is blowing are correct, but only sufficient to generate 2% or less of full wind fleet output. The power output modal average is approximately 800 MW, 8% of nameplate capacity. The probability that the wind fleet will ever produce full output is vanishingly small.