Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. By Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0, Link

British Government: “renewable power is the best way to shield the UK from volatile gas prices.”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to British government ministers, the best way to shield Britons from gas price volatility is to embrace renewable energy. My question – what is the plan when the wind stops blowing, like it did last September?

Renewables auctions to be held annually in green energy push

By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst

The government has re-stated its faith in green technologies with a decision that it says will create a steady stream of renewable energy projects.

Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says renewable power is the best way to shield the UK from volatile gas prices.

He announced that auctions to supply low-carbon electricity will now happen every year, instead of every two.

He says this will bring more certainty to firms planning to invest in wind turbines and solar panels.

The renewables industry is delighted – especially after a week that’s seen the government’s energy policy under fire from some MPs and commentators who believe the costs of the drive to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 are too high.

Mr Kwarteng said: “We are hitting the accelerator on domestic electricity production to boost energy security, attract private investment and create jobs in our industrial heartlands.

Read more:

in September 2021, Bloomberg reported that wind power in Britain failed, because the wind stopped blowing.

U.K. Power Surges to Record 400 Pounds as Wind Fails to Blow

“We are not receiving enough renewable production”: Accenture

U.K. can’t count on nuclear as five EDF units are offline


Rachel Morison and Anna Shiryaevskaya
13 September 2021, 21:18 GMT+10 Updated on

Electricity prices soared to a record in Britain as a period of still weather is curbing wind power, exposing the U.K.’s reliance on intermittent renewables.

U.K. power for next day exceed 400 pounds ($553) a megawatt-hour at an auction on Monday, an all-time high. Wind generation is currently below normal, accounting for about 11% of all the electricity entering the grid. That’s leaving the market exposed to swings at a time five nuclear units are offline.

The U.K.’s ability to meet peak demand was already set to shrink this winter as coal and nuclear power stations close early. The outlook has worsened as low wind speeds have forced Britain to rely more on fossil fuels to produce power at a time Europe is facing a shortage of gas and coal prices are surging.

Read more:

How can anyone believe that wind and solar can fulfil Britain’s energy needs? How can anyone believe that more renewables can stabilise energy supply?

Britain has had multiple demonstrations the last few years, including last September, that renewables are too unreliable to be useful. If Kwasi Kwarteng gets his way, the energy price pain will grow.

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February 11, 2022 10:03 am

re: “what is the plan when the wind stops blowing, like it did last September?”

Buy power from across the channel from the French?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  _Jim
February 11, 2022 11:09 am

Nice theory, but one of the reasons the price went sky high in September was because French imports were sharply reduced, due to the fire at Sellindge at the HVDC converter stations for IFA 1 – but also due to lots of nuclear outages on the Continent and reduced wind generation so that import availabilities fell.

GB INterconnectors 21.png
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 11, 2022 11:32 am

Good point. Large supply and price swings are usually not the product of a single factor, but are the result of a sort of “perfect storm” of multiple factors occuring at the same time … whether by coincidence, as you describe in France … or sometimes due to a common root cause.

For instance, the big brownout in Texas a year ago was blamed on renewables by the anti-renewable crowd, and was blamed on poor gas system infrastructure and resultant failures of gas compressors by the anti-gas crowd. The truth is that failures occurred due to poor cold proofing in both the wind generators and the natural gas compressors supplying gas lines. They both failed at the same time for the same underlying cause – lack of proper cold proofing for both types of equipment.

One cannot design a grid system that never gets stressed – such a fool proof system would be unaffordable, with tremendous amounts of unused capacity that somebody has to pay for in their electric rates. So it is a matter of careful risk assessment and risk management to determine an affordable amount of excess capacity.

True Believers on both sides of the renewables argument always over simplify and attempt to make it an all or nothing proposition. Nothing in real life is ever all that simple and life is a matter of shades of gray, not black and white.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 12:00 pm

The Texas grid collapse was in my view due to

a) Insufficient dispatchable capacity – they were never going to be able to meet peak forecast demand, having allowed too much to be off the system for maintenance, and not devised a capacity market or other mechanism to ensure that there was sufficient capacity in the first place, while placing too much trust in wind to generate – the only safe assumption is that it will be windless just when demand peaks, however much weatherising you do, and that would have been the right assumption to make, because the wind died.

b) Poor grid management by ERCOT – they should have started with rolling blackouts while they still had some reserve margin to handle the almost inevitable trips, but instead they tried to fly through without, so when the first big trip came it produced a cascade of others until the automated frequency control disconnections happened.

c) Poor design of the automated and manual disconnections, resulting in gas grid compressors being blacked out causing supply problems: until that point, despite the problems with production, power stations had been kept supplied out of cavern storage with dry gas. That made recovery from the big trip impossible for days afterwards.

Weatherising might have helped save the odd power station, including the nuclear trip caused by a pressure gauge pipe freezing up and giving a false reading, but frankly would never pass an investment case on the wind turbines, which were disabled by the still winds anyway, and given the storage buffer, would also be hard to justify in the production gathering system.

Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 12:51 pm

I have since read from two sources, one an individual blogger and one an ERCOT official that the wind died after the February 8th storm and that accounted for the lack of wind power in Texas. It was a big still cold front that moved over Texas after the storm went through.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Joel
February 11, 2022 2:24 pm


ERCOT Wind.png
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Joel
February 11, 2022 2:28 pm

Map of winds during the blackouts

Gary Pearse
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 12, 2022 12:12 pm

People think about wind energy wrongly. Choose a windy pass and build a bunch of windmills. But then what happens? In simple terms, wind blows from a high pressure area to an an area of low pressure.

There is an insistence to this action on the part of the low pressure area.That is, the newly built wind farm causes a partial damming effect on the passage of the wind at the pass and since the low pressure area won’t be denied, it draws air requirement from other directions as well.

It would be interesting to see the planned output of power from the new farm and what power was finally produced. I think the overall statistics are suggesting a big overestimation of windpower production in plans

Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 1:00 pm

As reporting revealed, it was considerably more involved than any failure of “cold proofing”. First, up front emergency orders to prioritize gas for home heating required some gas powered electricity generation to shut down.
A significant part of the failure of cold proofing for gas supplies was the regulatory requirement that electrical heating be used for gas infrastructure. When the electricity for said heating was not available, existing gas supplies could not be accessed.
Some significant amount of home heating also failed because, as with the electricity deficient gas supply “cold proofing”, the electricity was not available to use the gas for home heating.
Gas supplies were further constrained by policies that penalized having greater backup gas storage.
Gas fired electricity generation was increased to several times the 25%+ loss of total that wind and solar were supposed to be supplying, but conditions required considerably more electricity than had ever been anticipated.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  AndyHce
February 11, 2022 2:21 pm

I think that gas storage would have just about coped if the compressors to pump from it and to power stations had stayed working.

South Central NG storagechart.png
Dave Fair
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 2:54 pm

Duane, you once again demonstrate your lack of knowledge of electric supply systems. Wind generation failed mainly because of a lack of wind during a commonly occurring extended cold snap. Politically motivated “planners” failed to consider the past history of weather. I’ll give you that what happened after that wind lull is complicated.

Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 3:02 pm

Rubbish Duane, are you grif in disguise?

It is black and white: cold-proofing can ensure that the gas works in a big freeze but no amount of cold-proofing will help to generate RE on a windless night.
What don’t you understand about that?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 7:30 pm

One cannot design a grid system that never gets stressed”
We expect aeronautical engineers to design aircraft that seldom fail when stressed.
Why do we allow excess exposure to danger and death from failed electricity supplies when, with less woke engineering, we can reduce risk? The overall story has more explanations than cost. We can see world-wide that the push for renewables is unwise, so power engineers must either be under-educated now, or abandoning known safely principles or being marginalized by non-engineers such as untrained politicians.
The cure seems simple.
Empower competent engineers. as used to be the case. Forbid decisions that are unsupported by competent engineering.
Make it more like medical systems where you lose your license to work when you work below standard. Geoff S

Harry Passfield
Reply to  _Jim
February 11, 2022 11:09 am

…who will be selling their excess power to Germany as they can’t get gas from Russia….

Reply to  _Jim
February 11, 2022 11:16 am

Only they aren’t selling because they are struggling themselves or have little fishing disputes on with the Brits 🙂

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  LdB
February 11, 2022 11:43 am

I see Macron has announced 14 new nuclear facilities capable of producing 24GW in total. He also announced offshore windfarms allegedly capable of similar output (but not all the time).
Only dependant on his being re-elected

Reply to  _Jim
February 11, 2022 7:46 pm

British Government: “renewable power is the best way to shield the UK from volatile gas prices.”
No! Stupid! Won’t Work! [Insert strong expletive for emphasis here]

Regards, Allan MacRae (he, him, pureblood, satire, gotcha)
– Energy Expert with a Strong Track Record of Actually Being Correct.

Reply to  Allan MacRae
February 12, 2022 6:11 am

Proof – this paper – updated again yesterday 11Feb2022:
“The ability to correctly predict is the best objective measure of scientific and technical competence.”

I nailed the correct Climate-and-Energy story two decades ago in 2002:
Natural Global Cooling circa 2020; Green Energy Fail via intermittency & diffusivity.

To summarize, and cut through all the warmist nonsense propaganda:
“MacRae’s Maxim” (published circa 2020):
2022 Update – eliminate the word “VIRTUALLY” – leads to rounding errors. 🙂
Proof – this paper – updated again yesterday 11Feb2022:
“The ability to correctly predict is the best objective measure of scientific and technical competence.”

I nailed the correct Climate-and-Energy story two decades ago in 2002:
Natural Global Cooling circa 2020; Green Energy Fail via intermittency & diffusivity.

To summarize, and cut through all the warmist nonsense propaganda:
“MacRae’s Maxim”:
2022 Update – eliminate the word “VIRTUALLY” – leads to rounding errors. 🙂

Reply to  Allan MacRae
February 12, 2022 6:28 am

“On rounding errors”

By the end of 2020, the climate doomsters were proved wrong in their scary climate predictions 48 times. At 50:50 odds for each prediction, that is like flipping a coin 48 times and losing every time! The probability of that being mere random stupidity is 1 in 281 trillion! It’s not just global warming scientists being stupid.
But no sensible person makes a 50:50 prediction – at 60:40 the odds against being this wrong are 1 in 13 quintillion; at 70:30 the odds against being this wrong are 1 in 13 septillion. 🙂
These climate doomsters have not been telling the truth – they displayed a dishonest bias in their analyses that caused these extremely improbable falsehoods, these frauds.

Tom Halla
February 11, 2022 10:07 am

Build a bunch of 1970’s French design nuclear reactors, given the record of those designs. Wind and solar are weather dependent, and no amount of hot air from politicians can make it otherwise.

J Mac
February 11, 2022 10:08 am

Doubling down on unreliable wind and solar power is not a viable survival strategy.

Curious George
Reply to  J Mac
February 11, 2022 10:17 am

These guys don’t care about YOUR survival.

bill Johnston
Reply to  Curious George
February 11, 2022 10:27 am

I also noticed that. Seems everybody wins but the consumer.

Reply to  J Mac
February 11, 2022 11:03 am
Harry Passfield
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 11, 2022 11:11 am

So that fixes the problems 30 years’ hence….

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 11, 2022 11:22 am

more like 14

“France to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors by 2050, says Macron”

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 11, 2022 12:27 pm

Not sure that EPRs fix anything. It would be nice to see some working examples: the Taishan plants in China are shut down with techinal problems with the fuel rods, and all the others have had serious construction delays (Flamanville, Olkiluoto, Finland, Hinkley Point UK). The problem for France is that, having invested in the 1970s and 80s, much of their nuclear fleet is now nearing end of life. So it needs to be replaced, which is more than 60GW, not just 24GW. Then they’ll need to add some if they intend to electrify more of the economy.

Reply to  J Mac
February 11, 2022 1:01 pm

We talking price here, not survival.

Dave Fair
Reply to  AndyHce
February 11, 2022 2:59 pm

Tell that to those people that froze to death.

Reply to  Dave Fair
February 11, 2022 5:10 pm

Oh, do they count?

Dave Fair
Reply to  AndyHce
February 11, 2022 5:18 pm

Not to the warmunists and crony capitalists. Socialist manipulation of economies causes poverty and poverty kills.

michael hart
February 11, 2022 10:09 am

“Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says renewable power is the best way to shield the UK from volatile gas prices.”

So he thinks volatility in energy prices can be solved by increasing the amount of even more volatile supply? What a plonker.

Reply to  michael hart
February 11, 2022 10:29 am

I assume “plonker” is the same as moron.
Seems to be a lot of those around these days in the upper echelons of governments everywhere. This moron has no understanding of what is gonna happen by relying on bogus wind and solar for energy, or, maybe he does and its all part of the plan to take the UK back to medieval sources for heating homes, etc. Control of the folks big time? Gallows, anyone?

michael hart
Reply to  RevJay4
February 11, 2022 11:05 am

Rev Jay4, my first reply seems to have put me in moderation which is a shame on this site.
“Plonker” is a term often used on BBC TV.
It refers to the word that begins with p- and ends in -enis.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  michael hart
February 11, 2022 12:34 pm

It was also part of a catchphrase in the TV series Only Fools and Horses, where every episode David Jason would expostulate “Rodney, you pl…..r!” when the said Rodney had committed yet another folly. A selection here:

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  michael hart
February 11, 2022 12:34 pm

Mainly used by Del Boy to refer to Rodney as I recall

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 11, 2022 2:06 pm

That and the word “muppet”

michael hart
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 11, 2022 2:29 pm

Rodney was an equal insult when I grew up. The Stranglers used the term in their track “Duchess”.

There was a joke about one particular Rodney. It was that he worked at British Leyland, putting big ends in princesses.
It’s a UK thing, for US readers.

Reply to  michael hart
February 11, 2022 5:40 pm

Script Monty Python – “He will fart in their general direction”.

February 11, 2022 10:15 am

You can’t fix stupid. They will follow this line of stupidity until they do enough damage that it blows up in there face. At some point people will revolt and I hope it doesn’t get out of hand.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Philip
February 11, 2022 10:35 am

What will fix stupid is a massive winter grid blackout during a cold winter high with no wind, where thousands die of cold. Given this idiots statement, that sadly now seems inevitable somewhen soon.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 11, 2022 12:45 pm

I wish I had that much faith in government ministers’ ability to join the dots. Or even add 2+2!

Reply to  Newminster
February 11, 2022 2:09 pm

In the meantime, the beatings will continue.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Newminster
February 11, 2022 3:01 pm

An individual’s solution to 2+2 is a social construct.

Reply to  Dave Fair
February 11, 2022 8:16 pm

Math is r-a-a-a-a-a-cist!

John in Oz
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 11, 2022 2:52 pm

Even if this occurs there will be no accountability nor punishment on the people responsible for the deaths.

Negligence is often used to charge people in other areas (driving, industry, etc) but politicians get away with creating disasters with no-one looking to put them in front of a jury.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Philip
February 11, 2022 3:39 pm

The Canadian truckers are very seriously trying right now, but the government is threatening to use military forces to supress them, so what happens next is anyone’s guess. Hungary in 1959, or Tianmen Square?

Reply to  Robert Hanson
February 11, 2022 6:45 pm

Much will depend on if there is violence and who initiates it, and how hard the first blows are.

Steve Case
February 11, 2022 10:21 am

My question – what is the plan when the wind stops blowing, like it did last September?

Plan? They don’t got no plan, they don’t need no plan. They don’t have to show you no stinking plan!

Reply to  Steve Case
February 11, 2022 11:21 am

Same song in New York:

At low wind speeds it does not matter how many giant windmills you have. There is just no juice. Like solar at night, right?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Steve Case
February 11, 2022 12:37 pm

This is the main problem. There never is a plan. It’s always throwing some money at the subsidy miners and then making an announcement that they are fixing the problem.

Nothing changes, nothing gets fixed, subsidy miners get rich, taxpayers get poor. Rinse and repeat.

February 11, 2022 10:22 am

It is difficult not to deploy foul mouthed invective when it comes to the UK’s “energy” policy ….

Rud Istvan
February 11, 2022 10:30 am

His UK ministers really are as stupid as BoJo himself.

The reason gas prices are high is renewables are unreliable so need gas backup. Germany greenlighted Nord 2 despite Energiewende in order to become more Russian gas dependent—great NATO move, that. And EU didn’t stock up for winter this year. And when you refuse to frack for UK gas, it grows scarcer every year. The Groningen field is so depleted it will cease regular production this year and will be shut completely by 2026.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 11, 2022 11:47 am

It’s all over for fracking in UK as last firm operating is told to plug its shale gas wells

  • Last UK-based fracking company Cuadrilla told to seal shale wells in Blackpool 
  • Tory MPs have slammed the decision by the Government’s Oil and Gas Authority 
  • Fracking has been mired in controversy since two earthquakes recorded in 2011

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2022 5:10 am

As I understand it the largest ‘earthquake’ measured 2.3 on the scale and was felt as a gentle rumble at the surface.

Fracking for shale gas has been carried out safely in the US for years but some ‘expert’ on the BBC said it had not been proven!

UK is going to regret this decision.

Joel O'Bryan
February 11, 2022 10:32 am

Thinking wind can replace reliable coal, gas, or nuclear power at the grid level — one simply can’t fix that level of stupid. When you’re dealing with morons at that level of ignorance, we can only keep them far, far away from political power as a matter of national security.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 11, 2022 11:08 am

But we can’t keep them far from power. They’re already in power.

Rod Evans
February 11, 2022 10:36 am

The BBC s Roger Harrabin a man so out of touch with energy reality it is a joke every time he presents anything to do with climate or energy. Add to that a minister who thinks renewable energy is reliable and you have the perfect double act of idiocy. The minister is not affectionately known as Krazy Kwarteng for nothing…..

Reply to  Rod Evans
February 11, 2022 10:58 am

Krazy has to up his game. On the other side of the Atlantic the USA department of energy has an Office of Nuclear Energy.

S. Brinton was just appointed Deputy Assistant of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposal of that office. His pronouns are possibly still fluid since seen dressing in drag and telling Renssaler Polytechnic students back in 2017 his predilection for tying up his significant other to dine atop while viewing “Star Trek”.

John K. Sutherland
February 11, 2022 10:40 am

Nobody could possibly make this stuff, up. Just when you think no one could be so stupid, they go and prove us wrong again. I would laugh, but I have relatives in England.

Ron Long
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
February 11, 2022 10:52 am

My genes are from Britain and it’s starting to concern me.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland
February 13, 2022 6:21 am

Double the frequency of auctions and hence price changes. Call this an increase in stability. Can nobody see the sheer barminess of this idea.?

Devils Tower
February 11, 2022 10:41 am


Use nuclear and coal to generate electricity.

Save gas to heat homes.

Using electric to heat homes will be a disaster.

Reply to  Devils Tower
February 11, 2022 12:49 pm

Too obvious.
And according to some experts, gas will be needed to make hydrogen to replace gas. You really really really couldn’t make it up!!

February 11, 2022 10:45 am

As it is said somewhere;

You will know them by their fruits”

The fruits of their actions… including also their smiles too… it seems.
Fake, cold, empty, heartless…worse than the smile of a clown.
As any other of their fruits… void of empathy and compassion.

Oh well.


February 11, 2022 10:53 am

Oh, I thought Griff was the Minister.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 11, 2022 11:03 am

No but he will be along soon to tell us that the UK is stabilising the global climate.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 12, 2022 5:17 am

No, but certainly the Minister knows as little about energy and reliable electricity production as griff.

Harry Passfield
February 11, 2022 11:07 am

How the hell did we ever get to the position that we end up with ignorant fools like this? Mainly, I guess, because they are advised by con-men who are Greens under the covers – but are called advisers. They need to be culled!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 11, 2022 11:27 am

affirmative action? gotta have people from the colonies… who are mostly in London- which voted against Brexit?

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 11, 2022 12:10 pm

Well, we know one high-level adviser who is Green under the covers!

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 11, 2022 12:18 pm

It’s what you get when the PM’s brain is between a pair of legs and not his own ones.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
February 11, 2022 1:16 pm

Sadly the Labour and Lib Dims are even more extreme in these matters!

Remember it was Labour who introduced the Climate Change Act, Ed Davey who forced through the ruinously expensive renewable subsidies.

Not to mentuon the disastrous Theresa May who enacted Net Zero, with no opposition at all.

To blame Boris is naive in the extreme

Reply to  Paul Homewood
February 11, 2022 5:56 pm

Yes, and the SNP is even more extreme than Labour and the Lib Dems. The gap between the political class and the population is increasing all the time – and not just about energy and climate, its also apparent on race and gender.

Reply to  Harry Passfield
February 11, 2022 1:09 pm

It isn’t anything new, most of those who have anything to lose will do whatever seems necessary to avoid losing it. — She is a witch. It is her fault.”

Reply to  AndyHce
February 11, 2022 1:13 pm

Wasn’t it just this past year that the agency long responsible for energy supply in the UK was replaced when it issued a report about the difficulties of survival under net zero policies? Would their successors make the same mistake?

February 11, 2022 11:08 am

Perhaps a good way of not being subject to volatile natural gas prices is to burn coal and build nuclear power plants?
These people are too stupid to run a lemonade stand. Every single one said to use natural gas as the bridge fuel to the green future, thus increasing demand for natural gas, closed coal plants and nuclear power plants, and then took steps to reduce natural gas production.
They are so stupid they thought natural gas would just appear magically, in large amounts, and cheap, just because that was their fantasy. In Europe, they assumed Russia would just sell them all the gas they wanted at the price they wanted. Russia is acting in its own self interest. Why should it help Europe go off fossil fuels and ruin Russia’s economy?
Europeans still think they are the center of a global empire. The world should dance to their tune. Even these brown immigrants from former colonies have this assumption.
Today, Europe is a nothing burger, yet they want to act like they should run the world.
The voters in Europe are getting exactly what they deserve: screwed.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joel
February 11, 2022 11:29 am

Europe shouldn’t need America to defend itself from Russia- which it outnumbers several times over- and its economy is many times greater. America should focus on China.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 11, 2022 12:55 pm

I think that is the big fear. That is what led to World War II.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Joel
February 11, 2022 3:49 pm

What led to WW2 was the appeasment of Hitler by liberals who were “anti-war” (sic).

Peta of Newark
February 11, 2022 11:14 am

This is a real beaut…

There appears to be a Wunderground Personal weather Station out in the North Sea – not far from where a lot of windmills are..

Its called: Forest – IK14FA1C2 and is Dutch, apparently, but makes no odds
The link below should take you to the monthly average page for September 2021 – where it records an average wind speed, across the whole month, of 1.1km/h

if you get there, you’ll see ‘Next‘ and ‘Previous‘ buttons which will take you forwards or backwards, one month at a time.
Each time, just look at the ‘Average Wind Speed

Jeezus Wept, are we in some Deep Shit or what

Peter Barrett
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 12, 2022 6:50 am

Thanks, haven’t come across that site before. For those who can’t be *rsed here are the average winds speeds for subsequent months (in case you might be accused of cherry picking):
Oct 21 1.1mph
Nov 21 0.7 mph
Dec 21 1.3 mph
Jan 22 0.9 mph
Feb 22 1.4 mph (part month)
possibly slightly below nameplate rating, as you say, deep doo-doo heading our way.

J. R.
February 11, 2022 11:22 am

The UK needs a truckers convoy to demand that the government reject the climate change cult and focus on practical energy solutions that work.

Reply to  J. R.
February 11, 2022 1:19 pm

That is probably like the South demanding that the national government stay out of its affairs, never realizing that their only chance of survival was to totally crush the North. The establishment, able to rely on OPM and a large supply of cannon fodder, would never compromise then and will never compromise now.

Dave Fair
Reply to  J. R.
February 11, 2022 3:12 pm

It is a reasonable assumption it will come to that, J.R. Mandating removal of gas heaters and banning FF transportation will do the trick, eventually. Can you imagine what will happen when truckers are told they have to replace their big rigs with electric powered tractors?

February 11, 2022 11:24 am

Renewables actually do provide some insulation from hydrocarbon fuel price volatility, but they cannot serve as a complete shield, since they cannot fully replace the hydrocarbon fueled power plant infrastructure. The max contribution of wind and solar to a stable power grid is still indeterminate, but it is probably no more than 20-30% of generating capacity.

But there are other means of, if not shielding, at least reducing the impacts of fuel price volatility:

1) Nuclear (fuel volatility is much less than for hydrocarbons)

2) Hydropower

3) Signing long term fuel supply contracts at a time when prices are relatively low (not this year!). Long term contracts won’t lock in prices at the bottom of the market cycle, but can lock them in at middling prices). Inevitably crude oil and natural gas prices are going to come down due to market conditions. Today crude oil is around $90 per bbl. At the next dip it might well drop below $40, and when it does, lock in a long term supply contract at somewhere in the middle, say $70. Ditto with gas.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 12:00 pm

There’s not a lot of opportunity for Hydro in the UK. Apart from Scotland there aren’t many areas suitable. I can’t imagine a new series of dam builds being welcomed. This is the official UK Government website view.

Future developmentIt is unlikely we will see again the scale of development witnessed in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. Opportunities to use this technology on a large scale are now limited, not only because of environmental concerns but also because many of the most economically attractive sites for schemes have already been used. However, it is important we exploit our remaining small-scale hydro resources in a sustainable way.
Some old watermills are also being refurbished and brought back into the energy supply network.
Recent studies estimate there is a remaining viable hydro potential of 850 to 1550 megawatts in the UK. This represents approximately 1 to 2% of current UK generating capacity and so would make a modest but useful contribution to UK renewable energy and emission reduction targets. There are a number of steps that have to be considered before a scheme can be built, eg scheme economics, environmental permits, planning consent and connection to the local electricity network.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 11, 2022 12:40 pm

Nuclear is therefore the better hedge against fuel volatility in the UK. In France, which already generates roughly 80% of its power with nukes, is already largely isolated from hydrocarbon fuel price volatility. Norway and Iceland, with lots of hydropower and geothermal, also are largely isolated from the volatility.

In the US, we get roughly 20% from nuclear, and until a few years ago, upwards of half from coal, which is generally not as volatile as oil and gas .. but coal use has gone down in the US due to a combination of regulatory limits and the relatively cheap price of natural gas. So the US is still exposed rather heavily to oil and gas volatility.

Martin Pinder
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
February 11, 2022 2:00 pm

Greens don’t like hydroelectric for some strange reason. If the UK government were to consider it (if it were viable in the UK) they have the government in such a grip they would stop it.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Martin Pinder
February 11, 2022 2:12 pm

They don’t like hydro because it works

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
February 11, 2022 3:56 pm

Andrew, you beat me to it. 🙂

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Robert Hanson
February 11, 2022 4:07 pm

Great minds, and all that.

Reply to  Duane
February 11, 2022 12:05 pm

Market conditions could certainly cause prices to come down. But as they drop the market will change its preference back to oil and gas so the prices won’t go down indefinitely nor even very far. And of course market forces can just as well drive prices up.

The only thing that will reliably drive down the price of oil and gas is not needing oil and gas.

I have no sentimental attachment to oil or gas and would be pleased to wake up one morning to any replacement that costs no more. Notice I say “replacement” not erastz. I mean something at least as convenient and reliable.

Reply to  Quelgeek
February 11, 2022 12:33 pm

In the oil and gas market, “what goes up must come down”. Ever since the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973 oil and gas has always suffered extreme ups and downs. When it’s down, people think it’ll never go up .. and when it’s up, people think it will never go down. It always goes up, and it always goes down.

The reason, primarily, is that the balancing of supply and demand is very difficult when demand sharply changes. We saw that first hand in just the last two years of the COVID pandemic. In the first half of 2020 when the first surges in COVID occurred, a combination of government ordered shutdowns and simply voluntary reduction of driving, as well as job losses resulting therefrom, caused a tremendously sharp crash for world wide economies. Right on the heals of the COVID recession was a huge drop in oil and gas prices, due to reduced demand.

As a result, oil producers sharply cut back on exploration and drilling new production wells in the second half of 2020.

Then, we ended up with a V-shaped recession, instead of the usual U-shape in the GDP curve, with employment rapidly ramping up and people going back to former transportation habits … consequently, demand for oil and gas came back up again very sharply.

Unfortunately, the hold back in developing new capacity to address the sharply higher demand resulted in a huge delta between supply and demand, such that prices of oil and gas skyrocketed in the second half of 2021.

Our oil and gas infrastructure follows this same pattern over and over again .. when recessions hit, demand drops, prices drop, and eventually supply drops .. when recessions end and vigorous recoveries begin, demand pops back up, but the lagging supply always takes months to years to catch up.

It doesn't add up...
February 11, 2022 11:34 am

Here’s a 20+ year view of the sources of generation for the GB grid. It is very noticeable that the UK had the flexibility to switch back into using more coal after the Fukushima accident – until coal station closures made that no longer possible. It’s also notable that there are enormous swings in the availability of wind generation, with February 2020 being the best month, but several poor months in succession in 2021. That’s never going to be covered by a few grid batteries. In fact, I calculated that if we had tried to survive on wind and storage in 2021, we would have needed over 50TWh of hydrogen storage plus over 150GW of generation, and almost 40TWh of battery or pumped hydro storage, with over 120GW of generation. Our storage is measured in GWh, not TWh.

GB Elec source.png
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 11, 2022 2:06 pm

And here’s what happened to day ahead wholesale prices over the post Fukushima period. More stress as coal shuts down, then total chaos when renewables (and interconnectors) fail on top. But while we still had the option to switch, coal helped keep the costs in reasonable control.

Monthly Nordpool GB.png
Willem post
February 11, 2022 11:53 am

The stupidity of that statement is off-the-charts, because wind and solar electricity sources vary all the time, 24/7/365, because the weather and the seasons vary all the time.


The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.
Biden’s offshore wind systems would have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices, and the prices of all other goods and services, because their expensive electricity would permeate into all economic activities.
The wind turbines would be at least 800-ft-tall, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance from night-time strobe lights.
Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables. The low-frequency noise (less than 20 cycles per second, aka infrasound) of the wind turbines would adversely affect marine life, and productivity of fishing areas.
Production: Annual production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh of variable, intermittent, wind/weather/season-dependent electricity.
The additional wind production would be about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of the annual electricity loaded onto US grids.
That US load would increase, due to tens of millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.
This would require a large capacity of combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, to cost-effectively:
1) Counteract the wind output variations, MW, aka grid balancing
2) Fill-in wind production shortfalls, MWh, during any wind lulls
Such lulls occur at random throughout the year, and may last 5 to 7 days in the New England area.

Willem post
Reply to  Willem post
February 11, 2022 11:54 am



Any transition from fossil fuels to low-CO2 sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass, could occur only when the low-CO2 sources are: 1) abundantly available everywhere, and 2) at low-cost, say 5 to 6 c/kWh, wholesale, and 3) as reliable as fossil fuels, 24/7/365, year after year. 

This article presents the all-in cost of wind, solar and battery systems in the US Northeast.
Table 1 shows the all-in cost of wind and solar are much greater than reported by the Media, etc.

Much of the cost is shifted from Owners of these systems to taxpayers and ratepayers, and added to government debts 


Simplified Mortgage Method

This method can be applied to Electric Vehicles, Heat Pumps, Electric Buses, Wind Systems, Solar Systems, Battery Systems, etc.

The minimum annual carrying cost of a house, or an energy system, is “paying the mortgage”. 
With regard to a house, all other costs, such as real estate taxes, heating, cooling, maintenance, etc., are in addition.

An energy system must have annual revenues = “Paying the mortgage” + “All other costs”
Any shortage of revenues must be made up by subsidies. 

The less an energy system is able to “pay for itself”, the more the subsidies.
Subsidies can be reductions in the upfront turnkey capital costs
Subsidies can be reductions of some items of “All other costs” 
Subsidies can be paying for the electricity production in excess of market prices

A house, after paying the mortgage, likely is worth more than in Year 1.
However, wind, solar, and battery systems have useful service lives of about 20, 25, and 15 years, respectively. 
Thereafter, they still perform at lesser outputs for some time, but their financial value is near zero.

The Dark Lord
February 11, 2022 11:57 am

why do I get “corrupt African dictator” vibe off that guy ?

February 11, 2022 12:12 pm

Just couldn’t think of maybe using their own massive gas deposits?

February 11, 2022 12:17 pm

Who would have thought that the UK’s future would include electricity rationing when the wind doesn’t blow?

Thomas Gasloli
February 11, 2022 12:21 pm

Eric, you have to stop asking sensible question and expecting logical answers. The “elites” running/ruining the western capitalist democracies are all credentialed morons who have been failing up for their entire careers. They think disasters like their COVId response, the supply chain fiasco, and high inflation, are what success looks like.

Andy Pattullo
February 11, 2022 12:22 pm

The requirements for senior political post: obedience, adherence to dogma, lack of insight, lack of judgment and a steadfast adherence to insanity – as in keep doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome.

Reply to  Andy Pattullo
February 11, 2022 12:38 pm


Stephen Skinner
February 11, 2022 12:24 pm

Bruce Cobb
February 11, 2022 12:25 pm

They have broken their energy grid, and haven’t the foggiest notion how it got broken, much less how to fix it.

February 11, 2022 12:30 pm

Renewables make gas prices more volatile.
Renewable prices are way more volatile than gas prices.

February 11, 2022 12:33 pm

If Kwasi Kwarteng gets his way, the energy price pain will grow.

But in an all unreliable source grid, price will not be related to “volatile gas prices”.

Gordon A. Dressler
February 11, 2022 12:40 pm

Anyone who asserts the price of “renewable” electricity when the sun ain’t shining and/or the wind ain’t blowing will be the same as when there is sunshine on PV panels and strong breezes going through wind turbines is—in the slang of the part of the US where I grew up—buying a pig-in-a-poke.

February 11, 2022 12:42 pm

This whole argument is absurd. If wind and solar worked the need for and price of natural gas would be meaningless and of no consequence. The solution is at hand. Smart meters should be installed at all residences and businesses. Each meter should be programmed for that customers energy source preference. If you are like me and are an all of the above customer your meter would be programmed for all available sources and my preference would be to be billed for the cheapest source. If you are a wind and solar kind of guy your meter will be programmed to deliver energy when wind and solar power is available and you will be charged for the actual cost of generating with wind and solar. I would recommend these customers purchase a gas generator because you will need it every time wind and solar can’t deliver. Every option in between will be offered, the point is you will get energy when your preference is delivering and you be be charged the actual cost of generating power with your preference.

Reply to  Bob
February 11, 2022 10:13 pm

This type of thinking helped get us into the crapfest we are in.

Wind and solar can be incredibly cheap if they only supply in the periods when wind/sun is available. But in doing so they force massive externality costs on other generators who have to pick up the slack when the wind is not blowing or no sun.

It is not the final consumer who should be the ones doing the correct costing. It should be up to the wholesale purchaser.

Generators should bid, both quantity and price, into the system over a reasonably extended period, say one or two days. Your quantity bid should not be more than 120% of your average supply over the last year.

Wind and solar generators would have to team up with reliable generators or battery systems to be able to provide power through that entire period. This would be totally different to the current prioritisation of supplier and forcing of huge costs onto other generators.

Reply to  Dean
February 12, 2022 4:17 pm

I beg to differ. My thinking would supply the energy I want when I want it. There is no reason for for fossil, nuclear or hydro to back up wind and solar. If wind and solar can’t deliver and must rely on backup then they should be made to build their own backup. Their competitors should not be forced to fill in the gaps that wind and solar by definition must have.

February 11, 2022 12:43 pm

“ According to British government ministers, the best way to shield Britons from gas price volatility is to embrace renewable energy.”


Put it to a vote and see what the people say

Dave Andrews
Reply to  fretslider
February 12, 2022 5:51 am

Unfortunately most people are really clueless about how they get their electricity, except from a plug/switch on the wall. But unreliables have been pushed relentlessly for years as a panacea for climate change so I fear general ignorance would result in a favourable vote.

February 11, 2022 1:00 pm

Obviously the solution to volatile gas prices is sky-high consistent pricing.

February 11, 2022 1:11 pm

If wind power is so cheap and efficient, why does it have to wait for govt subsidised schemes every year?

Why are they not being built anyway all the time?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Paul Homewood
February 11, 2022 2:50 pm

Good question. I think the answer is that we gave up on the idea of a free market a long time ago. Now everything must be sanctioned by the array of quangos (OFGEM, National Grid, CCC, BEIS, Crown Estate (for offshore leasing)) before it can happen. It’s a centrally planned failure, entirely Sovietised.

February 11, 2022 1:39 pm

what is the plan when the wind stops blowing,

The plan is to continue to graft funds from energy price fixing and hidden taxes. In other words, just another form of property confiscation that is characteristic of all forms of government.

Don’t expect there to be a positive effect on the environment. Another common characteristic of governments is waste.

How can anyone believe that wind and solar can fulfil Britain’s energy needs?

“They” don’t. Individuals frequently see a way to line their pockets and/or to secure their reputations using others’ productivity and property. Socialists, Oligopolists, Fascists, and Capitalists — all truly Collectivists — simply covet other peoples’ money and property, and will combine forces to take those things away with impunity.
It is impossible to keep these individuals out of political power, but this attraction is a vulnerability, that at least serves to consolidate potential targets in a small area.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

  • H. L. Mencken
Dave Fair
Reply to  dk_
February 11, 2022 3:22 pm

Capitalism gives value for the money received; the rest don’t.

Reply to  Dave Fair
February 11, 2022 3:46 pm

Dave F. — Emphatically agree. A free-market “capitalist”, believing and thriving in a competetive market, does exactly as you say

A monopolist does not. If one dominates, or seeks to dominate a market, or joins with a few others in a cartel in order to fix prices and limit distribution, will becomes first a corporate trust and eventually an extension (or proprietors) of government. “New World Order,” Globalist capitalists seem more like the latter sort.

We shouldn’t refer to both sorts with the same word, but we do. I was referring to the latter, who I believe are the most common variety of the genus. With energy producers jumping on the AGW hysteria bandwagon, and thereby raising prices, reducing supply, obtaining/expanding government license and strengthening market exclusivity, I think that I can show my case.

We need more of the free-market, competitive sort.

Chris Nisbet
February 11, 2022 1:44 pm

I’d be interested to hear from the engineers that provided this advice to these ministers. I’d be interested to hear the reasoning behind these claims.
Was any such advice sought by the ministers, or provided?

Reply to  Chris Nisbet
February 11, 2022 5:57 pm

You can bet that no individuals with real life engineering experience gave such advice, probably because the “minister” didn’t ask them.
He just listened to the ‘advisors’ that fitted his political narrative.

Bruce Cobb
February 11, 2022 1:49 pm

It’s kind of like, if you are hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, the best way to shield yourself from the pain is to hit yourself harder and faster.

Andrew Wilkins
February 11, 2022 2:56 pm

We’re fed up here in the UK getting repeatedly mugged off by the likes of Kwarteng.

And Harrabin’s a solid gold twat.

Andrew Wilkins
February 11, 2022 3:38 pm

A sceptic posted a perfectly reasonable reply below Harrabin’s daft article. A green zealot replied with:
“Seriously, you should be banned from speaking in public until you get your mind right”
Yet, again, greens let the mask slip and expose themselves as absolute fascists.

Gunga Din
February 11, 2022 3:42 pm

Just what does “renewable” mean?
“Free energy” from the Sun and wind?
What does it take to build those devices?
Mine for rare earth elements like cobalt, lithium, etc. How much of it can, for instance, kids in Africa find before it’s gone?
Once we take them out of the ground to make these thing, what process “renews” them?
When will we reach “peak” cobalt? “Peak” lithium? “Peak” whatever else they need?
Sure, the Sun will always be there. But won’t be sunshine on the panels at night or as much if it’s cloudy or their covered by snow or bird sh … residue or just plain dust and dirt or leaves.
The wind will always be blowing somewhere. But maybe not where the pinwheels need it or to strong to use it or loose the pinwheel.

It doesn't add up...
February 11, 2022 4:33 pm

One of the ways in which they are trying to rig the markets is through CO2 emissions cap and trade. The UKA market which has replaced the EU ETS scheme since last May has already collected over £5bn in auction proceeds for the government, while the forward price has hit £90/tonne CO2e. Prices have been screwed higher by cutting the volumes offered at auction. The market in fact applies to large industrial operators and short haul aviation, not just electricity generators. But the clearing price can hit hard depending on the technology and sector. Even an aluminium smelter running on hydro power might be paying an additional £350-450/tonne of aluminium – so the production simply migrates to coal fired China instead, where the CO2 output is doubled and more. A coal fired power station will just add the UKA price to the cost of generating a MWh, while for CCGT it will add 36% of the price in baseload operation, but perhaps as much as 45% if forced to ramp up and down to keep pace with changing wind and demand.

Since CCGT tends to set market prices a lot of the time effectively the tax is adding over £30/MWh to market prices, also increasing the subsidies to renewables via a back door. the current plans call for 80.5 million allowances to be auctioned in the year, which would raise £6.4bn at £80/tonne CO2e from all industries while adding £8bn to electricity prices split about 50/50 between costs to fossil fuel generators and extra subsidies to renewables.

UKA Auctions.png
Patrick Peake
February 11, 2022 6:16 pm

Another potential problem with using less and less gas is that the reduced volume still has to fund substantial fixed investment. Just because we can buy gas at $X now does not mean that this same price will apply to small quantities. This is accentuated by the need to still be able to draw on gas supply at high delivery rates. So we need to maintain significant capital equipment but use it for much less throughput.

John the Econ
February 11, 2022 8:41 pm

What’s worse? That public officials spew such nonsense or that a large cohort of the public buys it?

February 11, 2022 9:53 pm

“How can anyone believe that wind and solar can fulfil Britain’s energy needs? How can anyone believe that more renewables can stabilise energy supply?”

If you have no training in any sort of logical thinking, but instead believe in unicorns and magic puddings then believing in renewables ability to do it all is totally credible.

Phillip Bratby
February 12, 2022 12:11 am

I wonder why none of our politicians heed the words of the late Regis Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University, author of the boof ‘Sustainable Energy – with out the hot air’ and Chief Scientific Advisor to the the Department of Energy… who said “Wind and Solar are a waste of Money for the UK”!

February 12, 2022 1:20 am

The UK currently has 24GW of wind capacity, which has delivered up to 19 GW of actual power (13.9 onshore, 10.4 offshore).

By 2030 this will rise to at least 62GW – 19.9 onshore, 42.4 offshore/floating.

The offshore wind will be more widely distributed than ever, in high wind capacity areas, of designs able to work also with low wind speeds.

UK maximum demand is around 48GW (evening peaks on top of that are handled usually by hydro and pumped storage, in the main).

(These are approved and building schemes – seabed allocated, CfD strike price agreed or being negotiated, etc)

Solar power will also increase by at least 6GW of large scale solar.

No need to even mention dozens of other small solutions…

The use of the 8 or more HVDC lines to 6 other countries/regions is an integral part of the supply plan, with around 10GW of capacity. Is is intended renewable power from other countries (plus cheaply dumped French nuclear capacity) is a regular part of the solution.

The idea that in 2030 the UK will not have enough power is a ludicrous one.

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2022 5:22 am

The UK currently has 24GW of wind capacity, which has delivered up to 19 GW of actual power …

Your numbers are out of date, even relative to the delayed reporting standards for DUKES.

The “Extended Tables 6.1” set of data only goes up to Q3-2021 at the time of writing, but includes the following (in the “Renewable electricity capacity and generation (ET 6.1 – quarterly)” link on the following webpage).

For Q3-2021 the cumulative installed capacities for wind and solar were :
Onshore wind : 14,368 MW
Offshore wind : 11,066 MW
Solar (PV) : 13,689 MW

Note 1 : The “nominal / nameplate capacity” for all wind turbines on the GB grid was just over 25.5 GW 4 or 5 months ago.

Note 2 : 91 (days / quarter) x 24 (hours / day) x 25.5 GW ~= 55.7 TWh / quarter.
91 (days / quarter) x 24 (hours / day) x 10 GW (for reference) = 21.84 TWh / quarter.

– – – – –

The available “Quarter” numbers for “ELECTRICITY GENERATED (GWh)” since 2020 :
Year : ……………… 2020 ………………………………….. 2021
Quarter : ………… Q1 ….. Q2 ….. Q3 ….. Q4 ….. Q1 ….. Q2 ….. Q3
Onshore wind : 12,875 6,076 6,647 9,090 9,948 5,325 4,132
Offshore wind : 13,362 7,290 8,012 12,017 11,201 6,191 6,067
Solar (PV) : ……… 2,185 5,486 4,250 1,236 .. 1,726 4,839 4,173

– – – – –

For “LOAD FACTORS (%)”, however, you get :
Year : …………….. 2020 ……………………….. 2021
Quarter : ……….. Q1 .. Q2 .. Q3 .. Q4 .. Q1 .. Q2 .. Q3
Onshore wind : 42.2 19.9 21.6 29.3 32.6 17.2 13.2
Offshore wind : 61.2 32.6 34.9 52.4 49.9 26.9 25.6
Solar (PV) : …….. 7.5 18.9 14.4 .. 4.2 … 5.9 16.3 14.0

– – – – –

By 2030 this will rise to at least 62GW …

Solar power will also increase by at least 6GW

Additional “capacity” is useless when “as little as” 13% (onshore wind) / 25% (offshore wind) / 4% (solar PV) of that “extra theoretical power supply” shows up as “actual power”.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2022 8:01 am

You do realise that according to Wind Europe nearly half of Europe’s existing wind farms will reach the end of their normal life by 2030 and need replacing. Have you factored this in to your calculations?

Reply to  griff
February 12, 2022 10:11 am

If you were to quadruple the number of pinwheels, when the wind isn’t blowing you still get 4 more times 0. Using racist math, 4 times bugger-all is still bugger-all.

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2022 10:32 am


Your “up to 19 GW” number is up to date.

My bad …

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
February 12, 2022 11:30 am

Looking at from yet another angle, while the theoretical “capacity” of wind turbines attached to the GB grid has increased from ~15 to ~19 TWh per month over the last 4 years the actual production has yet to break into double-digits.

NB : Ironically February 2020 had only 28 days to establish the record, but its wind production has yet to be broken by any month with 30 or 31 days since then …

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
February 15, 2022 9:22 am

The UK currently has 24GW of wind capacity …

After I have caught myself being guilty of “lecturing / pontificating” to various other people about the differences between “the UK” (= England + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland + most surrounding islands) and “the island of Great Britain” (= just the main island of England + Scotland + Wales) your post confused me enough to make a couple of “silly mistakes” in my replies to you.

1) The “wind capacity” for the UK is just over 25.4 GW (not the 25.5 I stated), but it should have been “obvious” to me that after subtracting the ~1.3 GW of (onshore-only) wind capacity of Northern Ireland you were actually referring to the capacity of the GB electricity grid.
[ 25.4 – 1.3 = 24.1 … ]

2) 2020 was a leap year. February 2020 had 29 days, not 28.

… which has delivered up to 19 GW of actual power …

Taking the time to generate a graph of daily “min/max generation from wind turbines for Great Britain” (see below), and taking a bit more time to think about its repercussions, leads me to make the following observations.

1) The GB grid’s wind turbines only generated more than 19 GW of power — averaged over a 30-minute “Settlement Period” — this year, a feat they only managed to achieve twice.
The previous record was 18.74 GW on 1/5/2021, but by my calculations they generated 19.54 GW on 29/1/2022 and 19.27 GW on 12/2/2022.

2) There was a relatively long “wind drought” for the GB electricity grid’s turbines for much of last summer (June to September 2021).

3) For the last week of November and the first half of December last year most days had a “max” value (for a single 30-minute “Settlement Period”) around 15-17 GW … and a “min” somewhere between 6-10 GW.

4) From the 16th to the 21st of December last year, i.e. for six consecutive days, the maximum “Electricity from wind turbines to the GB grid” value did not exceed 4.2 GW.
The minimum “30-minute averages” for that time period ranged from 1 to 2.4 GW.

– – – – –

As others have noted, there are major logistical / grid management issues that must be resolved when a group of turbines that can produce “up to 19 GW” of electricity can also produce “as little as 1 GW” of electricity, depending solely on the vagaries of the weather.

patrick healy
February 12, 2022 5:53 am


February 12, 2022 6:39 am

Well, you can safely use wind/solar reduce your consumption of gas, and hence your dependency on gas prices IF…a big IF…you provide enough gas-fired generation, with enough of it quick-starting, to handle the fluctuations and outages of the ‘renewable’ source. That means far higher capital investment than a purely gas-red system, because you are paying for a lot of gas-fired capacity that is there all the time but gets relatively low utilization, AND that is on top of the already-high capital costs of the wind and solar themselves.

And, of course, higher interest rates make capital investment more expensive.

Enlightened Archivist
February 12, 2022 12:29 pm

How is it that every policy decision by this crowd is wrong & economically moronic. Energy from multiple sources should be the goal. The energy type used should reflect the most efficient & least overall total life cycle cost for the purpose needed. To deselect a host of reliable energy solutions is just downright dumb.

alastair gray
February 14, 2022 2:11 am

A right little luminary of the flatulent unicorn theory is our Mr Kwarteng, and the more the renewables fail the deeper he wants to dig the hole. As a nation I am afraid we are broken beyond repair. I enclose my letter to Mr Kwarteng from January last year..
He read i, reassured me that Her Majesty’s Government have it all under control, advised me to more or less smile and be happy or something, and completely ignored the contents of the letter.

February 14, 2022 10:38 am

True. With “renewables” there will be only really high prices the continually rise so no volatility.
And it will cost less overall since much of the time you won’t have any available to buy at any price.

February 14, 2022 2:01 pm

I suspect that the coming fall of the current UK Government will have more to do with expensive intermittent renewables and the effects on the poor and working class than a few parties in Downing St.

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