British Renewables Chief: “England is not Windy Enough”

wind-turbine[1]

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The British CEO of RenewableUK, the British Wind Industry Trade Association, thinks England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines.

England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines, the chief executive of wind industry trade body has admitted.

Hugh McNeal, who joined RenewableUK two months ago from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, insisted the industry could make the case for more onshore turbines in some parts of the UK, despite the withdrawal of subsidies.

But he said this would “almost certainly” not be in England, as the wind speeds were not high enough to make the projects economically viable without subsidy.

Current wholesale electricity prices are too low to spur investment in any new form of power generation, so the Government has already had to make subsidies available to new gas plants.

If financial support required by onshore wind is less than that required by gas, the industry argues it should no longer be regarded as “subsidy”.

“We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/04/england-not-windy-enough-admits-wind-industry-chief/

WUWT have been predicting “peak wind” for some time. In my opinion this admission from the CEO of RenewableUK is an admission that it is happening.

Regarding the lack of investment across all UK energy sectors, I doubt a temporary lull in wholesale price is the issue which is deterring investment, especially investment in new gas generators. The real reason is more likely that the UK energy market is in chaos, thanks to years of heavy handed British government efforts to promote renewables. In the words of Amber Rudd, the British Energy Secretary, “… We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention. …”

The effort to “redefine” subsidies as something all energy providers should expect, and therefore not really a subsidy, is telling – in my opinion it suggests Wind energy providers are well aware that their product will never be truly competitive against reliable, dispatchable power generation systems.

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181 thoughts on “British Renewables Chief: “England is not Windy Enough”

  1. Subsidy; a rose by any other name. A bit like US agriculture “supported” by “Export Enhancement”….not subsidies!

  2. Well yes of course. If you have been to any wood/forest in the UK you will see the trees grow relatively uniformly outwards with a uniform canopy and UP! Go to Tiree off of the coast of Scotland and trees, those that do grow, grow up to about 3ft, then follow, horisontaly, the direction of the prevailing wind.

    • Yes, you can cite isolated areas where the wind is strong. They are well known because they are so unusual.

  3. Tony from Oz is a frequent commenter on JoNova and has commented at WUWT. He has his own blog which is well worth a look. He also has an extensive background in electrify generation.. He says simply that the problem with “renewable power” is that it does not, simply does not, generate enough power. The troubled Ivanpan solar site only generates 392 MW of electricity. It simply does not generate enough power even at maximum efficiency or nameplate capacity to warrant the expenditure in money, land and moral perks given the bird killing. At this time in history “so called renewable energy’ SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK. Keep it simple stupid, applies.

    • I should has pointed out that even if (which will never happen) Ivanpah generates nameplate power it is a drop in the bucket of California’s electricity needs.

    • I believe they fixed the bird incidents… these were taking place during ‘calibration’ when the mirrors were focussed away from the tower.

      • No. I’m an amateur ornithologist , and bird (and probably more important bat kills) are in inherent in wind and solar “farms”. The numbers of kills are skewed because the operators of wind and solar farms do not allow unbiased researchers to evaluate the carnage.. Why else would Obama, an unapologetic green, grand a wavier to wind farms in the killing of eagles. Let’s repeat that: KILLING OF EAGLES.

      • I’d point out that it isn’t just ‘killing of Eagles’. The Obama Admin has ‘granted a boon’ that allows wind farms to kill 4,200 Golden Eagles per year – that’s 4 times the current limit.

        What blew me away is the statement by the Fish & Wldlfe Director when announcing the rule change that allowing thousands more Eagles to be killed is somehow ‘good news for preservation of the species’.

        “Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said the proposal will “provide a path forward” for maintaining eagle populations while also spurring development of a pollution-free energy source that’s intended to ease global warming, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s energy plan.”

      • “I believe they fixed the bird incidents…”

        Yes, by exterminating all the birds. You can’t keep incinerating the same birds day after day. Once they are gone, they are gone.

      • Wind turbine operators’ message to government —

        Send lawyers, guns and money — the birds have hit the fan!

        Eugene WR Gallun

      • I think we are missing a big point here with bird kills. The perception is that these renewable energy sources are doing “Good” for producing green energy and are replacing “Bad” fossil fuels. The bird death count is immaterial to this type of thinking. Turn your way back dials to the early 1960’s and a chemical that was well on its way to ridding the world of the malaria mosquitoes was found to be affecting the bird population. What to do. Denounce it, demonize it and Ban it from the face of the earth. DDT was banned and now we have 3 to 5 million deaths from malaria a year. Could we not use the same logic to remove the bird choppers and cookers from the face of the earth.

      • Boris DDT is not banned in the context of malaria prevention, only in general agriculture – where incidentally it massively affected bird populations by preventing eggs hatching. DDT certainly reduced bird populations

      • Ah but my point was that these wonderful “Green” windmills are decimating the bird populations to the point that they may never come back. They are getting a walk when it comes to the government charging them for the kill count. A lot of other projects and initiatives are shutdown or detained for the slight effect it has on bird species. An example of this is logging in the northwest been banned for upsetting the spotted owl population. Even though no spotted owls were found in the area.

    • Watch for an announcement in Australia on our Tuesday regarding a new solar power installation at Port Augusta, South Australia for the princely sum of A$1.2Bn.

      I’m looking forward to Tony from Oz’s analysis

      Of course, the proponents are promising base-load power and a new ‘honestly, it will work better than all of the previous failures because we have a new solution’.

      South Australia has the highest installation of wind generators in Oz and, surprise, surprise, also the highest electricity rates. Another subsidised, solar boondoggle is merely a political move about jobs, not power as we are currently in an election period where the major parties will promise anything to retain/get into power.

      • Griff writes: “Didn’t South Australia just shut down its last coal power plant?”
        Yes, but we still have (almost adequate) gas-fired power plants. And when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine we import power that is produced from poor-quality brown coal in our neighbour state (Victoria) .

      • StefanL, I agree with your comments except “poor-quality” brown coal. It’s actually very good quality brown coal (lignite). It’s very low in sulphur and very close to the surface, so even though you have to burn more of it to get the same energy (and same CO2), it doesn’t cost as much to mine. At current rates, supplying 5 million population in Vic and more in South Australia, it will still take hundreds of year to exhaust. Sad if we shut down such a reliable, high quality energy source.

    • and now Australia has some nutters wanting to set up solar thermal HERE
      looks like global stupid epidemic is well n truly underway.

      • The Chinese are putting in 10 solar thermal plants, totalling 1GW capacity.

        The Moroccans have one of a different design

      • Griff non of those thermal plants will work any better than Ivanpah. All, of these “GREEN” energy solutions have been tried many times before and they have all failed many times before. That is why we moved on to energy systems that work. If wind could not survive at Hawaii’s South Point installation (one of the windiest places on the planet.) without government subsidies, it cannot survive anywhere. You can’t cook a family dinner reliably with solar thermal let alone power a whole country.

      • Griff
        June 6, 2016 at 7:21 am

        “The Chinese are putting in 10 solar thermal plants, totalling 1GW capacity”

        If so, the Chinese are still only “diversifying” in hopes of future “Redistribution” from Developed Countries via Carbon Credits or other pay-offs.

        At the time of Ivanpah’s alleged bright future, there was only one similar plant operating – in Spain and they still aren’t building any more of them: no new subsidies. Spain knows Solar doesn’t work.

        Also check out Pireto’s – a Big Solar Proponent in Spain – engineering evaluation of Solar’s poor suitability to task:

        http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/05/01/Solar-Dreams/

        “Prieto is not alone in reaching such sobering conclusions. A 2013 Stanford University report, for example, calculated that global photovoltaic industry now requires more electricity to make silicon wafers and solar troughs than it actually produces in return. Since 2000 [to 2013] the industry consumed 75 per cent more energy than it put onto the grid and all during its manufacturing and installation process.”

        Prieto’s solution, ‘we’ must decrease energy consumption by doing such things as going back to using Draft Animals! I wonder how that sort of thing has worked out for him.

    • Stan, we all do that. This is a “conversation” and we type fast and mistakes happen.

      On the other hand, I have suspected for some time that gremlins run around on the internet changing our beautiful prose by inserting spelling and grammar mistakes. Darn those gremlins!

      • Damn those gremlins! I do take pride in making my comments grammatically and spelling correct. A vanity, I guess. However I would point out to WUWT readers who complain about no edit function that you can type you comment in the comment block and then go back and revise it. My mistakes usually come when the gremlins stop me from doing that simple step. I once had a computer named “Gremlin “. My beloved Libby christened it. It had its ways as does this one.

      • Oh, the irony of making a typing error while telling others how to avoid same.

        What’s that about “pride goeth before a fall”?

      • In another forum we used to call it Phil’s Law. (Named after Phil, who formulated it.)

        “Any post which corrects a grammar error in a previous post shall itself contain at least one error of equal or greater severity.”

    • If you must be a pedant, get it right!

      Put inverted commas around “have” and “has”.

      • “Put inverted commas around ‘have’ and ‘has’.”

        What is an inverted comma?

        Oh. It’s the British word for quotation marks ” and/or apostrophes ‘

  4. It must have been Einstein or Mark Twain who said: The sh1t has finally hit the fan.

  5. The UK has ~6,600 large industrial wind turbines (~13 GW nameplate).
    Last year they only produced an average 2.45 GW (7.6% of demand); Giving a production/capacity factor of just …..18.8%.
    See the production charts on this page – http://nationalgrid.stephenmorley.org/

    This site shows live outputs across Europe of RWE’s wind & hydro sites.
    http://rwe-renewableslive.com/#/map/EU
    Zoom the map, click on location, & get – Live production, Nameplate capacity, Last 24 hrs, Site stats.

    As I write this, due to no wind….there’s almost no wind power in Europe (That’s an area covering UK, Denmark, Poland, Spain, Italy); my local wind site is actually taking fossil power from the grid (shown as a – figure).

    Yet the silly greens still think we can have 100% renewable supply.

      • It matters WHEN the power is generated.
        How many of the 11.5 million households that they claim to have powered were up in the middle of the night doing their washing because that is when the wind was blowing?
        Base load requires power to be available at ALL times, not just when the unicorns are farting.

      • Well, he’s TECHNICALLY not lying, just maybe ignorant, but the article is highly misleading (Well LYING about demand last week of Dec). Look here, bottom row second graph for the real story. Coal and CCGT had to damp down their outputs -as always- to compensate for the high wind incidence.
        http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
        Since Wind TCoP per MW/H is much more expensive than those main sources, the net result was more expensive power on the spot market.

      • hey Stan- the figures I quote come from the UK National Grid – are they telling lies? They ship the electricity…

        Jim A – what’s your point? The UK grid predicts in advance when wind will be high and shuts down coal and CGCT because – with the wind blowing and all – it ain’t needed… and note that wind constraint is set to fall since we have new HVDC power lines building

        Now here’s another couple of thoughts –

        most new UK wind is being built offshore – two huge new offshore wind farms got the go ahead this year…

        wind developments already building/approved in the UK amount to 1.5 times the existing installed capacity.
        By 2020 it would be reasonable to suppose that we’d get 27% of annual electricity and 45% of December electricity, given the same wind pattern as 2015…

      • How much extra did it cost to keep all the fossil fueled spinning backup running to cover for when the wind stops. Wind is total BS. Tell me how many tons of life giving CO2 were saved by all of the “GREEN” energy produced by the wind generators? You can’t can you. Since the fossil fueled spinning backup has to run in a inefficient manner this causes the amount of CO2 released to increase when wind power is added to the mix.

      • And, don’t forget, standard power stations do not run at maximum efficiency if their input has to be varied. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the added power from “renewables” is less than the power expended through loss of efficiency in the fossil fueled backups.

      • Matt

        When UK wind is producing (or mid day from March to October when about 5GW of solar on average comes in) the UK fossil fuel plants are almost entirely NOT running.

        wind/solar is sufficiently predictable that we can ramp up the gas plant and schedule the coal plant when needed. The amount of spinning reserve is a very small element of the system.

        If you look at this site, you can see gas, coal and wind output… gas and coal drops when wind is high. It ain’t running unconnected in the background.
        http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

      • Sorry Griff but even if the wind power was providing 100% of the electricity being used every fossil fueled generator will still be running. It is called spinning backup. All of the fossil fueled generation has to sit there running in an inefficient manner wasting fuel waiting for the wind generation to change or stop. This is the main reason that wind power is a total waste of money and effort. You can’t shut down fossil fueled generation willy nilly. It takes days and even weeks to restart some generators.

      • Also Griff you can’t predict wind and solar generator outputs. It is impossible to predict when the wind will gust or a cloud pass in front of the sun. Anyone who says they can is a lying.

    • I have just had a great idea. I have seen more power generated on exercise machines in gymnasiums. Why do governments not harness that power and say the wildlife. Never seen an eagle squashed by a rowing machine !!!!

    • Griff,
      your source is not accurate
      try using National grid & DUKES figs….not copy & paste ‘green wash’.

    • well, Griff. If you’da mind to, you would note that without fast reaction fossil fired gen capacity, the GRID* is up crapola creek. And you would note that NO one want to invest in fossil without subsidy to match wind.
      * Doesnt matter how much the grid can handle, it has to go somewhere.
      In EU, sometimes a national grid has to PAY to get rid of excess

      • For the moment.

        The Germans and Northern Ireland have the first grid storage schemes on trial for fast response frequency regulation – faster than fossil fuel plant.

        That’s one place renewables which can’t be used can go – but note in connected European electricity markets, with day ahead prediction of renewable output, there is already a day ahead market to buy renewable output one country can’t consume. Denmark has produced 120% of its electricity reqs and sold the extra on to the Germans, etc.

      • Wrong again Griff. Grid level energy storage is not possible at our present level of technology. Remember the wind sometimes doesn’t blow for a week. Maybe if we had a “FLUX CAPACITOR” we would be able to store the multi-Gigawatt/Hours of energy that would be required. Anyway if a battery storing that much energy were to short out the resulting explosion would make Hiroshima look like a firecracker.

    • The wind eventually gets worn out trying to turn huge turbines that previously weren’t there! Sort of like trying to run a marathon through waist-deep treacle. Maybe England just needs more politicians to generate new wind.

  6. I have always opposed the wind and solar generation schemes due to the disaster they are for land use and animal welfare. No one can be truly “green” if they favor these schemes.

  7. 2 points..
    1. it would be so lovely if the folks pushing these theings actually ever put, even just a small one, up in their own garden/plot wherever. then they’s realise just what a nebulous sort of thing wind actually is, especially when run through a thing with a (windspeed) cubed pwer relationship. You nothing from them then for a short spell you getr so much [power the thing destroys either itself or whatever you connect to it. They might look impressive and seem to be ‘doing something’ but the electrical and mechanical reality of the things is a total nightmare.
    2. They were initially subsidized – fatal for price and cost.
    My actual example was here on the fram. In 1981, my younger brother while still alive, got a quote for a new slurry storage system – a large circular above-ground steel tank. There was a very remote chance of getting a small 15% subsidy, nobody went there and the quote was= just over £1,000. Plus an installation/erection charge of £99 He didn’t buy.
    In 1991, when I took over, we really did have to get a new slurry store and fortunately, an easy to apply for subsidy of 50% was available.
    But, the cronies/suppliers had smelled all this ‘free money’ and the price had gone up to £11,000 for the same thing plus the ercttion charge had become £999. In just 10 years the price of the thing had gone up by a factor of 10.
    Then, of course, all the suppliers of the suppliers get their slice of this free money and get used to it, so when the subsidy ended, the price did’nt come back down. Still hasn’t 20 years later. Although of course that would have admitted profiteering while the subsidy was available, would it not?
    And so it is with windmills.
    I’d suggest it gets even worse because all this ‘free money’ finds its way into the pockets of real people who will spend it on little luxuries they might not have otherwise bought at prices they would not have previously paid – so it all ramps up inflation and the cost of living for everyone else, especially those not on the free money gravy train.
    But then was that the actual (government) plan? The otherwise bankrupt government wanted inflation so as to decrease the value of the long term loans it takes from, typically, pension funds.
    What we call ‘gilts’ in the UK
    Its a positve feedback spiral that surely cannot end happily, positive feedbacks never do.

  8. ‘But he said this would “almost certainly” not be in England, as the wind speeds were not high enough to make the projects economically viable without subsidy.’

    You would think that British engineers knew this from the beginning. Therefore, . . . .

    • When my colleagues and I were investing large sums in global energy resources in the 1980s, the engineering, the economics, the EROEI, the environmental hazards, of country size electricity production was long known well enough to map out the optimum structure.
      It was easy to factor in lower costs for technology advances, like rooftop solar has gone.
      This is because there was such clear separation of options. Notably, solar and wind were never economic because of power density logic.
      Nothing much has changed. The schemes we modelled as failures then have failed now in operation.
      What has gone so horribly wrong with our technical society? We kept wild eyed ideas from wasting public money. Why did our successors fail? Are current generations too lily livered to say about NO to stupid proposals?
      Seems to me that some push back is now needed.
      It seems hard for keen youngsters these days to imagine an enterprise without regulation. It seems honorable these days to work as a bureaucratic regulator, when in my time this role was for those too thick to succeed in generating money by using their commercial nous.
      Come on, youngsters, do some reading about how it was done so successfully in the 1970-80 era, so poorly now. Read, learn and digest the formulae for success and tell pesky would-be regulators tostuff it. You have the real assets,all they have is talk and threat.
      Geoff.

      • Somehow we have built a society where people with degrees in politics and arts subjects with very unrealistic ideas ascend to positions of power and then presume to overrule the engineers on technical and engineering matters. Consider for example Bernie Sanders whose degree is in (what else) politics. He wants to ban fracking and nuclear power, shut down all coal generation, and require the US to ‘switch to renewables’. If he were elected president he would ignore all advice to the contrary and proceed to try to do precisely that. In the process of learning why this is simply not possible he would do immense harm.

        We have a political class who think politics rules everything and technical obstacles are somehow not real or can be made to go away by making a political speech and waving some money at them. These people are arrogant and think they know everything. They won’t listen to people who try to tell them why their silly ideas won’t work. They only listen to people who tell them what they want to hear.

      • 30 to 40 years after, we have all sorts of new technology rolled out…

        Could it be that 40 more years of expertise in network management has made managing grids including renewables possible? That 40 years work on solar PV and wind turbines has delivered?

      • Geoff
        Right on – when the engineers say it won’t work — it probably won’t. Even if the politicians say it will.

      • Toorightmate:

        Not so many are “climate scientists” –

        Many of the folks with PolySci and legal degrees are politicians. Why else would they study Political Science. In Alberta, a PolySci graduate and life long left wing activist was sworn in as the Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women in the Alberta Cabinet. She also serves as the Deputy House Leader for the NDP Caucus. As “Environment Minister she has introduced “The Climate Leadership Implementation Act”. So, is it a political issue or a scientific one?

        You decide:

        http://www.981thebridge.ca/news/lethbridge-news/environment-minister-shannon-phillips-introduces-climate-leadership-implementation-act/

        So, when is a tax not a tax? When it’s called a “Carbon Levy”. Is that science or political double speak?

        http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/04/15/alberta-carbon-tax_n_9705290.html

        It’s going to be another shell game – see if you can find where the pea (money) went.

        (Alberta is just an example – no different from other provinces, states and countries with a Carbon “Levy”.)

      • Bartemis

        Your mobile phone relies on networking applications which are equally applicable to managing a grid in real time.

      • Griff, comparing an mobile phone grid to a power grid is just more evidence that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  9. “The real reason is more likely that the UK energy market is in chaos, thanks to years of heavy handed British government efforts to promote renewables.”

    Two current stories;
    http://www.thegwpf.com/uk-coal-plants-could-be-allowed-to-run-beyond-2025-report/
    http://www.thegwpf.com/green-madness-investors-bet-coal-has-a-future-as-backup-to-renewable-energy/
    Not just the UK but the EU has reached peak wind / solar whereby any further market penetration increases the CO2 emissions from the generated power. The only way to stability is to drastically reduce demand while at the same time enforcing the replacement of fossil fuel transportation with electric vehicles. The sheer insanity of these policies is at last emerging into public debate. The consequences will not be lost on those politicians savvy enough to notice the change in the wind.
    (I’ll get my coat)

    • No, it won’t enter the public debate. I predict that the EU will follow the lead of the enlightened US State of Californa and begin considering legislation to make dissension about this topic illegal. /sarc off

    • UK coal according to the story could only run if fitted with CCS – bit UK govt has scrapped all support for CCS.

      the story also notes “coal generation collapsed in the first three months of 2016, supplying 50 per cent less power than in the same period last year.” – indeed it hit zero for the first time in the more than 100 years of coal powered electricity generation last month…

      • I finally get to reply. You are using cherry picked statistics to prove your point. Whatever nonsense it is. Wind and solar can never, NEVER, replace base load power. That is a simple FACT.

      • The current UK target is 80% of electricity from renewables in 2050.

        but I think in special circumstances you can get 100% from renewables and never mind the baseload…

        Australia looks likely to achieve it one day from solar,, soalr thermal, wind, batteries and hydro.

        Hawaii plans to do it by 2040… so does Sweden (which has nukes and much hydro)

      • “but I think in special circumstances you can get 100% from renewables and never mind the baseload…”

        Griff I can tell from your last response that you don’t have the slightest idea how the power grid works or apparently any knowledge of electrical theory. You need to do a lot more research on the operation of an electrical grid before you make any more responses on the suitability of wind or solar ( thermal or PV ) as power sources. Wasn’t there a proverb about stupidity and keeping one’s mouth closed? :-)

      • Let’s see. A politician makes a speech that proclaims that by 2040, he wants electricity production in Hawaii to be 100% renewable.
        And from this Griff declares that all the problems have been solved.

        Sheesh. Leftists.

      • Griff,
        Plans are nice and all, but they won’t change the basic reality of the electric grid. It is a balance between demand and supply. If demand goes up and supply does not keep pace, then voltage levels sag and equipment stops working – or worse yet, fries. If demand goes down and supply does not keep pace, then the voltage level goes up and stuff fries. What’s needed is stable baseload supply to provide the bulk of electricity used (baseload, as the name implies is the lowest level of demand needed on a day-by-day basis – the base load), and on top of that dispatchable generation that can be tuned up and down (or on and off) as needed to match demand. Solar and wind are not good for baseload because they vary too much, even if they can kind of be predicted a day or so in advance. They are also not dispatchable, so they are not good for load balancing (OK, you can kind of turn them off/down, but if the wind is not blowing or the sun shining, then you can’t turn them on/up). Grid sized storage in the amounts needed are not technologically feasible in the foreseeable future. Do your research before you spout off about something which you know nothing about.

      • MarkW,

        “Let’s see. A politician makes a speech that proclaims that by 2040, he wants electricity production in Hawaii to be 100% renewable.
        And from this Griff declares that all the problems have been solved.”

        Well, they are . . for the politician ; )

      • Griff,
        You wrote “but I think in special circumstances you can get 100% from renewables and never mind the baseload…”

        This is a beaut example of wishful science.
        Here is Griff thinking – “I have a dream There is a country full of wind turbines. There is next to no wind some days. Most are stopped. But that does not mean that there is no electricity. It is just scale. If we put in enough, more and more of them, we will one day achieve the dream of electricity even when there is next to no wind. I wish we could get there sooner.”

        It is bad enough that people dream this crap type of wishful science, but the big damage is felt when wishful turns to wilful.

        Get a hold of yourself, Griff. Accept that there are many people who know the subject far better than you do. Even if you wish otherwise.

      • Stan, I’m using official 2015 power company stats.

        MarkW – is or is not Hawaii already working on 100% renewables?

        Paul – take a look at this:

        http://www.cleanhorizon.com/blog/2013/09/frequency-regulation-the-need-for-fast-responding-assets-and-the-mileage-case-in-the-usa/

        And this – which I post as Ireland now has first grid storage at Kilroot
        http://www.pavlak.net/ENMG698.Brendan.pdf

        google around grid storage and frequency regulation/demand response. The germans have first plants up and running… grid storage works faster than fossil fuel for this.

        Geoff
        The special circumstances now are countries with 300+ excellent soalr days and peak demand in daylight hours, able to install CSP solar and with additional wind, batteries and hydro.

        Wayne
        Germany is limiting renewable growth as it nearly hit its 2025 target already and hasn’t built out its grid.
        They still hit 45% renewable electricity around 2025

      • Let me see if I have this correct. According to Griff, since a politician has said that Hawaii wants to be 100% renewable by 2040, this proves that renewables can work.

        So much wishful thinking, so little actual brain power.

      • Griff you should read all of the papers you link to. Here is the conclusion of the grid storage solution at Killroot

        “Conclusion
        At the current projections of Li-ion batteries at $500 /kWh by the year 2022
        the storage system would cost approximately $1,552,500,000,000. Or over 8.3 time’s the current GDP of the whole country of Ireland
        This isn’t even including the cost of the investing in 13.15 time’s more wind production that
        would also be needed to achieve the wind only scenario. ”

        The study doesn’t say what you thought it did does it.

  10. ..Hmmm, isn’t that what ” Feasibility Studies” are for ??

    “As the name implies, a feasibility study is an analysis of the viability of an idea. The feasibility study focuses on helping answer the essential question of “should we proceed with the proposed project idea?” All activities of the study are directed toward helping answer this question.”

  11. Man just stands there
    (not being blown over)
    and says wind will save us.

    Man just stands there
    (not being burnt to a crisp)
    and says solar will save us.

    Man just stands there
    (little stream gently tugging his ankles)
    and says hydropower will save us.

    Man just stands there
    (his fart unable to flare a candle)
    and says biogas will save us.

    Man just stands there
    (eating a banana)
    and says nuclear energy is dangerous.

    Years go by and he’s still just standing there.

  12. So, It’s evidently it’s windy enough for the existing turbines. I guess these use up all the wind.
    IMO, There’s plenty of wind eminating from this article

    • It’s not really windy enough, it’s just that the air was richly saturated with subsidies.

    • I don’t think your opinion is valid. Yes you can use up all the good locations. I live in Ontario Canada and was shown a ‘wind map’ of the province by a professor who specialises in Wind power and is an advocate for wind power. By 2010 all of the areas where turbines would be viable were already developed. You can’t just squeeze more in. Viable locations for so called on shore wind are generally just barely on shore. Once you get too far inland the speed will have dropped way too much to turn the blades.

      And when I say viable, that’s with subsidies. There are 0 locations without subsidies.

      • Greg,
        That begs the question:
        How far behind a turbine does the wind become undisturbed enough to drive a second turbine.
        Not really that far I’m guessing. (Think Cessna Skymaster)

      • RobRoy

        Greg,
        That begs the question:
        How far behind a turbine does the wind become undisturbed enough to drive a second turbine.

        At least 10 x the rotor diameter before the second wind turbine generates 95% of what the first wind turbine generates.
        They used to try 7 x rotor diameter spacing, but that fails in practice and you only 80-85% of the potential power.

        So, if the diameter and height of the wind turbine rotors go up, you have to spread them out further apart, and the net “potential” capacity per sq kilometer remains about the same as with smaller rotors closer together. The smaller rotors can be crowded closer together alone a ridge line or a mountain top – in those places, the wind direction is a little bit more predictable. But there are very, very few unexploited ridges still left clean.

        Remember, the average wind turbine only generates 17-21% of its nameplate rating across the entire year.

      • Rob Roy,
        Did some work on that item in 1977 at the University of Western Ontario’s boundary layer wind tunnel. At that time it was 28 turbine diameters. It seems according to greens though, that physics is likely to change.
        My experience there convinced me to discount wind as an energy source. Subsidies are guaranteed to change any conclusions however.

      • The Thumb of Michigan seems pretty saturated as well; the Farmers love wind turbines, they get a nice check each year and have minimal impact on plantable acreage. We just put in a very substantial transmission line to route electricity from the thumb down to the interconnect.

      • Bill McCarter – interesting number for spacing. With new trubine designs getting close to 100 metres, that means 2.8 km between rows.

        Now look at this:

        This was covered in WUWT some time ago.

    • Given how frequently the turbines aren’t turning, the claim that it’s windy enough is doubtful.
      As anyone who has actually studied the subject will tell you, that the more turbines you add, the slower the wind will blow. It’s pretty simple. Windmills get their energy from somewhere. They get it from the wind, so as a result the wind doesn’t blow as hard down wind.

      Secondly, not all sites are created equal when it comes to how hard the wind blows. The best sites are already taken, which means future windmills are going to be built in places that are not as well suited as were the original sites.

      Just because you don’t know enough to understand an article is not evidence that the article is wrong.

      • Offshore wind! Another stupid concept. Try climbing onto a wind generator to do some servicing in 30 foot waves. I think there have been a few people killed trying to do that already. Like anything else we put in the seas, offshore wind generators will get the living crap pounded out of them by waves and ocean storms until they die an early death.

  13. It has been said before that if you establish too many wind farms, you run out of wind.
    UK is a case in point.

    • The solution is obvious — stackable turbines!!!! Why have just one turbine spinning on one foundation when you can stack them up! Ten or more turbines on one foundation! Truly the sky’s the limit!!!!!! Already I can feel government money blowing my way.!

      Eugene WR Gallun

      • You’ll need skyhooks for that.
        We could brainstorm how to create a startup to build skyhooks, but since Obama will be out of office before the paperwork oozes through the bureaus, there goes the half $Billion up front subsidy. We also didn’t invite Hillary to make a $350,000 speech and Trump would never go for it, so your idea and my scheme might have to wait.
        Or feel the Bern, whichever comes first.

      • That’s it! Put ’em high enough, use solar wind, and collect both solar and wind subsidies! Who can help with writing the grant proposal?

      • Jtom — solar wind subsidies? Why always does someone have to come along who is funnier than me??? — Eugene WR Gallun

  14. As a UK resident I feel I can help with the energy planning process here.

    Not only is the UK not windy enough for wind turbines, it is not sunny enough for solar and not mountainous enough for hydro.

    The sooner that is realised the safer our energy supply will be.

    • But wind and solar provide excellent opportunities to soak the taxpayers and enrich politicians, and in the face of that the safety of our energy supply becomes much less important.

    • The theoretical output from a wind turbine is a cubic function of the mean average wind speed. So if you double the MAW you get 8 times the power out. So MAW is absolutely critical. If you exclude areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest etc then it is probable that most of the best available sites have already been taken up. The remaining possible sites become less and less worth bothering with unless someone (i.e. the taxpayer) subsidises you.

      • Blade Runner June 6, 2016 at 7:07 am

        Naah, you just find a spot with no wind and no rain. Get your Government “subidises” Then erect some giant card board cutouts of wind turbines. No one would know the difference and they would be eco-friendly. And you get to pocket construction cost savings.

        michael

    • Or Scotland? or Ireland? The problem is that there are far too many stupid people who do not realise that England is only one of four countries in the UK and presume the whole place is called England. You are also of course correct, the countries in the west facing the Atlantic are substantially windier than England.

  15. Missing quite often is the knowledge that , since non-dispatchable power generators (such as wind and solar) cannot replace dispatchable generators (even if they have batteries!!!!), the grid is obligated to provide backup for non-dispatchable generators, and that means duplication of facilities, as well as personnel costs, maintenance costs, etc. You cannot simply “shut down (suspend)” fossil fuel or nuclear power plants and save much, if any expenses in the process. Plant personnel cannot continually be laid off and then rehired every time the wind comes up or dies. Most expenses for a plant are not fuel costs (which is about the only thing that shutting them down saves money doing). In the case of a nuclear plant, reducing its output saves almost none of the plant’s operating expenses, since its fuel costs account for a small portion of those operating expenses, and the lengthy time required for power reduction/increase means even less fuel can be saved.
    So adding non-dispatchable power generation to the grid simply increases capacity duplication and
    thus total costs, while power unit output remains the same. Of necessity, the cost of those power units (kw hours) MUST increase, in a near linear fashion with respect to capacity duplication increases.
    In the past few years in Illinois, grid operators have ben obliged to accept renewable power whenever it becomes available. This meant a reduction in their buying of power from nuclear plants, which are designed to operate at near (or above) 100% capacity (while not shut down for refueling). Not buying all of their output increases the costs of producing that ouput, almost in a linear fashion. and the plant operator (Exceleon) has lost millions. Excelon will now shut down two of those plants, which will remove a large part of the grid’s dispatchable power capacity and make it vulnerable to outages when the wind doesn’t blow. Renewable greenies have pointed to the costs of those plants as “proof” that nuclear power costs a lot. A more complete exampe of the stupidity/lying capability of greenies cannot be imagined. We know exactly how much nuclear plant generated power costs when those plants are operated as designed. Here in South Carolina they produce power more cheaply than any other generation technology. Environmentlaists have lied and lied and lied and sold the public a bill of goods – the mainstream media is too cowardly (and/or too stupid) to set the record straight.

      • Wind is providing 1% of electricity needs in UK and France on this sunny afternoon. Most people have probably finally switched off their gas space heating (the first days of June were miserable) but will be using gas for hot water.

      • Fortunately for Denmark, their electric grid is firmly connected to the rest of the continent.

      • Markw – yes…! You got it. Europe wide grid…

        google for new HVDC interconnectors recently build or approved in W europe

      • Griff, is someone paying you to make a fool of yourself, or is this just some kind of bizarre self help therapy for you.

        It’s the existence of all that non-renewable power in the rest of Europe that makes it possible for Denmark to have as much renewable as they do.

    • Missing quite often is the knowledge that , since non-dispatchable power generators (such as wind and solar) cannot replace dispatchable generators (even if they have batteries!!!!), the grid is obligated to provide backup for non-dispatchable generators, and that means duplication of facilities, as well as personnel costs, maintenance costs, etc.

      Maybe that’s the problem, let a nice windy day force the Nuclear Power Plant to shutdown, then when the wind stops blowing inform everyone that the lights will be out for the 12 hours it takes to safely spin-up the Nuclear Plant.

  16. You cannot remove energy from a system and still have the same amount of energy left. That applies to the wind as it does to any other system.

  17. No discussion of wind power is complete without considering the “elephant in the room”, or as I like to put it, “the shark in the swimming pool”.
    Energy Return On Investment – EROI
    The EROI of windmills hovers at just over 1, meaning they produce just a bit more power than it took to make them. Hardly a winning situation. But all EROI calculations I have seen are fairly optimistic about things like actual vs. nameplate output and turbine lifetime. A more realistic EROI calculation includes things like breakdowns, turbine failure, and the occasional catastrophic loss. True, some of this is “accident” but with a large fleet of turbines, you will get some of this. It is unavoidable in a large operation. So what happens when you include premature loss into a EROI calculation? Your enterprise as a whole goes net energy negative and becomes a net consumer of energy. You are just burning money on what amounts to a huge vanity project. Imagine, greens feeling smug and morally superior for killing raptors and endangered species with a system which produces no overall net output.

    If this is not bad enough, people want to build storage systems to address the dispatchablity issue. That is understandable. Now consider that storage makes better use of the power, but does not actually make more power. Add in the energy invested into making the storage system, and the EROI of the whole system goes further into the negative. The solution offered up for all of this is more of the same.

    And right down the rabbit hole we go.

    • Tony,
      If you factor in the inefficiencies of converting the electricity produced into the storage medium and then back again, it’s even worse. And solar panels have an even lower EROI. The whole “renewable” energy enterprise is a gigantic, every expensive boondoggle which will cripple our electric grids if we don’t stop it soon. When the rolling blackouts start, I hope people like Griff understand that they are to blame for it. But they will probably blame someone else – like Exxon.

      • Germany is connected to France which gets almost all it’s power from nuclear.

        I love the way acolytes try to slice and dice the data to find some way of presenting it that will make it look like their fantasies are doable.

  18. What a ridiculous uninformed view.
    If this person understood what the phrase “settled science” meant he would know that since humans are the main controller of the climate, all we have to do is MAKE it more windy.
    Surely he is under the thrall of Big Oil to indulge in such denialism publicly!

    • I think you’re on to something big here.
      A man with the power of Obama could probably make it more windy AND sunnier.

  19. “The real reason is more likely that the UK energy market is in chaos, thanks to years of heavy handed British government efforts to promote renewables.”
    ===============
    The wholesale price of power is what regulates supply. When it is windy, the windmills produce power, driving the wholesale price down to near zero. In effect, what they are producing is worthless power.

    When the wholesale price is high, and it would be worthwhile to produce power, the reason the price is high is that there is no wind and the windmills cannot take advantage of the high price.

    It is sort of like selling strawberries before the invention of refrigeration. When the harvest comes in, the wholesale price goes to zero, because people can only eat so many strawberries. A some point there are so many strawberries for sale that people are sick of them. In effect, “Peak Strawberries”. Next year, producers cut back on growing strawberries and grow something else.

    Same with electrical power.

    • Check out the UK ‘contract for difference’ scheme to see how you pay for a renewable energy system

      • How you make reliables even more expensive you mean. They now have to be subsidized because they are not allowed to be run enough to make a decent return. Unintended consequences again.

  20. You mean Brexit does not consume 100 percent of thoughts and comments in the UK? This is news.

    • Three, old, deaf ladies sitting on the park bench.

      Lady 1 – It’s windy today.
      Lady 2 – no, it’s Thursday.
      Lady 3 – so am I. Let’s have a drink.

  21. The theoretical output from a wind turbine is a cubic function of the mean average wind speed. So if you double the MAW you get 8 times the power out. So MAW is absolutely critical. If you exclude areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest etc then it is probable that most of the best available sites have already been taken up. The remaining possible sites become less and less worth bothering with unless someone (i.e. the taxpayer) subsidises you.

  22. I have tried to explain this before but will give it one more shot — using the simplest language possible.

    The ability to fry birds was designed into Ivanpah! Birds shit on mirrors so fry the birds before they can shit! Based on bird shit computer models it has been proven that over time the savings in cleanup will pay for the entire plant! Its a brilliant concept!

    Eugene WR Gallun

  23. Yeah, it’s because the wind speeds aren’t right. Just like drinking arsenic isn’t a good idea because it tastes bad.

    • Pumped storage does not make wind or solar profitable. It just adds many more things that can break down and foul up the system increasing an already sky high maintenance cost.

    • “The Swiss have figured out about the only way to make wind and solar power useful:”

      Just like the 1,728MW one we we’ve got in Wales, started in 1974

      http://www.fhc.co.uk/dinorwig.htm

      & The 440MW Cruachan Power Station (1959)

      & the 360 MW Ffestiniog Power Station (1963)

      • The big one in Wales is only a little bigger that a single wind generator. You are going to need a lot more pumped storage than that. You need to be able to store many Gigawatt Hrs of electricity. A few Kilowatt Hrs ain’t going to cut it.

      • Mat,
        “The big one in Wales is only a little bigger that a single wind generator.”

        I don’t think so…..

        Average windmill = 2 MW nameplate.
        (Average UK capacity factor for wind ~ 19%
        according to government figures (Digest of UK Energy Statistics [DUKES] & National Grid, the actual Annual figure is 19% .
        In the last year the UKs ~6,500 Wind turbines (capacity ~ 13 GW) produced average of just 2.56GW that’s a load factor of 19.6%. see http://nationalgrid.stephenmorley.org/ 1/3rd down page.

        Dinorwig Pumped storage = 1,728 MW nameplate.

        I make that 864 windmills going at full tilt (never been known) or 4’408 on average output.

        The energy stored at Dinorwig is 9.1 GWh. That’s enough to supply the UK for just 15 minutes. There are other pump storage facilities in the UK. Altogether they could supply us for 45 minutes (on an average day, shorter in Winter).

      • Sorry I was off by a factor of a hundred. I should read a little slower sometimes. :-)

    • South Africa built a similar scheme in the 1970s in the Drakensberg. Not using solar power, but from the existing grid.

      One of the linked dams also provides back-up water for the Johannesburg area 300 kms away, in times of drought, by releasing water into a river system which finds its way to the Vaal Dam

  24. The intensity of the wind has had little to do with the siting of hundreds of wind turbines in Northamptonshire, UK. It is simply because the connection costs to the grid, which are born by the developer, are extremely low, being close to the Midlands industrial belt.

  25. Hmmmm. It’s not really sunny in the UK either. Oh well, there is an endless supply of unicorn and fairy power that is untapped. The just need a few subsidies to get them off-the-ground

  26. Oh well, we know all about subsidies. Our early EU (Then EEC) membership brought the scene of trucks driving repeatedly through Dover docks, to collect the same food export subsidy multiple times. Seemingly it wasn’t even illegal to do that.

    Where there’s a subsidy, there a scam.

    As for unicorn power, be aware that like eagle power it is a national resource and likely to be fiercely defended by patriots, so hands off. ;)

  27. The UK should subsidize solar power plants in Spain, to be built in the period 2018-2028, and have the electricity shipped via new HVDC lines connecting Spain with France. This will allow them to feel green and happy consuming solar power.

    • Everyone will have to move to the windiest country.
      I think the UN/IPCC could tell us which is the windiest country. We need to able to tell the removalists where to take our belongings.

  28. Here’s a real life example of renewable only power at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Research Station. Here are the instructions for switching on something electric:

    When a user requests energy, he/she has to push a switch located next to the power socket and wait for the system to check for energy availability. If energy can be delivered according to the system’s priorities, the switch turns green, if not, the switch remains red and the user has to wait.

    You can imagine how quickly that farce will irritate you, not to mention the inefficiency of hanging around until the system decides you are important enough to have some power.

    Fortunately the station is only inhabited in the summer when it is light 24hrs/day. There is simply not enough power for winter operation. Of course, all the transportation and the standby generation facilities are fossil fuelled. Hey, you wouldn’t want you life to depend on renewables , would you?

    http://www.antarcticstation.org/station/smart_grid/

  29. Green attrrition

    The catholics have two theological terms, contrition and attrition.
    There was a brief discussion of them in the film “Seven” (Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman).
    Basically, contrition is when you know you did wrong and resolve to amend it.
    Attrition means you basically have the consequences of your sin/folly rubbed in your face but you persist in refusing to accept you are wrong.
    What is happening with renewable energy is green attrition.
    The global green dictatorship we all now live in carries on wasting trillions stolen from the taxpayer on doomed and impossible renewable projects.
    As they all inevitably fail, the green mandarins sashay from balls-up to balls-up with beaming faces announcing, in Orwellian style, the unstoppable march of progress of green power.
    It reminds me of the message Joe Stalin gave to the Soviet Union in the 30’s entitled “dizzy with success”.
    The topic of Stalin’s message was the death of several million Ukrainian farmers after communist militias stole all their food at gunpoint.
    The PR spin on this was “dizzy with success”.
    What happened in Ukraine is now coming back to haunt Russia. They have lost Ukraine forever.
    Our green overlords are “dizzy with success” at the unstoppable march of ecofasc1st energy which has already destroyed any semblance of a free market in energy supply.
    They are dizzy with success at the achievements of wind and solar simply because of all the destruction to real energy technologies that they have inflicted.
    But they wont escape green attrition with the failure of every false dawn that they announce, no matter what heights of dizzyness they achieve.
    The skeletons they are burying wont stay down.

    • Looks like the Russians are about to take over the Ukraine in the same manner that the Soviets did.
      Using lots of guns.

  30. The driver is renewable, green, and variable. Applications of the conversion technology should be chosen accordingly.

    • And Scotland, Northern Ireland (several new wind plants, grid storage plant and combined solar/wind plants, plus tidal)… and especially offshore.

  31. I truly am blessed, with the ability of speed reading. I just read the entire comments thread while sitting @ office loo.
    It’s almost better than an entire season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
    With “Griff” as the perfect Gumby.

  32. Griff I think you need to lay off the green juice .

    => Australia looks likely to achieve it one day from solar,, soalr thermal, wind, batteries and hydro.

    OK basic lesson on Australia for you here mate. There are a multitude of PRIVATE COMPANY generators that also feed the grid in Australia. Many of them will NOT EVER allow control to such fickle power source as renewable they don’t even trust the government grids they have interchange agreements with the grid for backup because the supply is critical to the kilns and mines etc on the end of them. This is especially true in WA and here is the list of WA generators

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Western_Australia

    Notice the number and size of the GAS fired and compare that to the feeble renewable power generation The people of Perth had a special treat last week when a giant Antonov landed with a new 120 MW GAS power plant. Yes all the private companies are still installing GAS generation and they care little for what the political lunatics think.

    There is between 500-650 MW of PV capacity connected to the state’s South West Interconnected System when the sun is shinning and 200-300 MW of wind capacity including the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere (Collgar Wind farm). However all the renewables do is get used for domestic consumption and make a percentage so the politicians can meet the target for our emissions cuts.

    The funny part is the collgar website is the best site to see the southern half of the state power generation and use (http://www.collgarwindfarm.com.au/). That is the live data with renewables never making anything but top up generation.

    So do you get the complex picture in Western Australia and yet you somehow bravely claim Australia one day soon is going to achieve total generation from renewables. Well you are either excluding Western Australia or been have drinking a little too much green ale.

    So perhaps less of the stupid naive claims may make you slightly more believable.

      • Home battery storage? Don’t make me laugh. After 1500 charges most batteries are junk. So lets do the math 1500 / 365 = 4.1 years on average for your $35000 Musk power wall. I’m not saying the battery will be completely dead but it will have lost a large percentage of it’s capacity. Solar cells also have less than a 20 year life expectancy and start loosing output after as little as 6 years. So you can replace the battery 5 times for every time you replace the solar bank.

      • Griff, you need to get out an Atlas and look at Australia and put it to scale to the country you are in. Melbourne is 4000KM from Perth in Western Australia .. yes seriously 4000KM. Western Australia is predominately mining and natural resources and within Australia the highest use of power per person of all the states. The power given to the Energy board is actually only public grid power it does not include private power from the big mining and industrial companies that is not available to the grid.

        I also again tell you we already produce 500 MW of PV power from Solar panel about 1/3rd of which is useless and can’t be used due to its nature. It just sits as oversupply with the inverters on the PV only supply a fraction of what they have available.

        So got it we could produce renewable energy until our nose bleeds but the energy is not consistent enough for industry to use and the nearest real population markets besides our small local city are 3000 and 4000 KM away.

        So we end up with this crazy situation of over supply
        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/mike-nahan-tips-solar-power-to-take-over-wa-power-generation/6727558

        As detailed in the article solar power and battery storage are actually causing the problem to get worse because the grid has to be able to hold the industries up which can work on the intermittent nature of renewable availability.

        So we have got the crazy situation we have massive amounts of oversupply of power but none of it gets used because it isn’t suitable for the large scale industries. So instead we have gas and coal power stations that aren’t really needed but they have to be there because the power we do have is useless.

        As stated it’s costing us hundreds of millions of dollars a year and no-one has been able to solve the problem even with that incentive.

        Welcome to renewable power.

      • “Griff June 8, 2016 at 1:06 am
        LdB

        http://cleantechnica.com/2016/06/06/2016-will-inflection-point-australian-battery-storage-market/

        That’ll solve any oversupply problem.

        solar can power industry…
        Chilean copper mines use solar PV, as do 7 UK car factories for 10% of their electricity… should work much better in Oz”

        You don’t know much do you? As of 2016, we don’t have any car factories in Aus (Ford/Holden). They closed down due to labour costs but also ENERGY costs after Labor, under Gillard, introduced a carbon tax.

      • LdB

        If you don’t have any car factories it seems to me that solar would power anything with a production line and construction robots…

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