Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t michel – Britons are experiencing first hand why wind is utterly unsuitable for reliable electricity production.
Britain Has Gone Nine Days Without Wind Power
By Rachel Morison
7 June 2018, 14:00 GMT+10
- Forecasters see wind output staying low for at least two weeks
- Wind generating 4.3% of U.K. electricity on Wednesday
Britain’s gone nine days with almost no wind generation, and forecasts show the calm conditions persisting for another two weeks.
The wind drought has pushed up day-ahead power prices to the highest level for the time of year for at least a decade. Apart from a surge expected around June 14, wind levels are forecast to stay low for the next fortnight, according to The Weather Company.
U.K. turbines can produce about as much power as 12 nuclear reactors when conditions are right. During the “Beast from the East” storm that hit Britain in March, they generated record levels of power and at times provided the biggest share of the nation’s electricity.
Wind droughts can last for months. The Australian
CSIRO BOM recently explained a three month wind drought in South Australia, with more to come in the future, was an inevitable consequence of climate change.
Unfortunately for anyone looking to
the CSIRO Australian government agencies for climate guidance, this was a revision to a 2011 CSIRO prediction that climate change would create stronger winds.
Luckily the current British wind drought occurred in Summer, but wind droughts can occur any time of year.
If countries like Britain go 100% renewable, its only a matter of time until a prolonged winter wind drought coincides with near zero solar energy availability, leading to weeks or even months without power at the coldest time of the year. Low wind conditions in Britain sometimes coincide with winter high pressure systems, which can be extremely cold.
No conceivable battery backup would bail a country out of a disaster like that.
Update (EW): Fixed the link to the Bloomberg article (h/t Latitude)
Correction (EW): BOM expert Darren Ray explained that the drop in winds was because climate change, not the CSIRO. The reason provided was “The tropics expand as the planet warms and that sees high pressure systems staying throughout the south longer than they used to.”. The original article quoting Darren Ray is unfortunately paywalled but if you search Google you will see the quote. (h/t Nick Stokes)