How Volatile Is Offshore Wind?


MARCH 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood

It is commonly claimed that the wind is much more constant and reliable in the North Sea and around Britain’s coasts than it is inland. “The wind always blows!”

But how true is this?

The Low Carbon Contracts Company, who manage the CfD system, provide daily data for generation by all generators with contracts. In particular there are sixteen offshore wind projects on their database, which offer a good geographical spread. They account for about a half of total UK offshore generation:

I have analysed January 2022 data for these, and below is the daily output:

Far from being “constant”, we can see that wind power is extremely volatile. Daily production ranges from 8322 to 84984 MWh, with a monthly average of 49245 MWh.

There were thirteen days when output was below 45000 MWh, in other words more than 10% below average.

There were seven days in the month when it failed to reach 25000 MWh. The average for those days was 17000 MWh, equivalent to them working at 15% of capacity. The worst day, when output was 8322 MWh, offshore wind was only operating at only 7% of capacity.

Bear in mind as well that this is winter, not summer when you might expect low wind speeds.

We have been promised 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, but in reality the most we can actually rely on is 3 GW.

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March 17, 2022 10:14 pm

Not shown in the graph is the production variation on shorter time scales than daily production. Buffering is required to ameliorate the catastrophic rate of change in current in the grid. The rest of the grid has to respond to the whims of the weather.

Reply to  RobK
March 18, 2022 1:48 am

The amount of wind is reliably known 24 hours in advance allowing for a measured and timely response

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:32 am

Well, the amount of wind blowing from your orifices can be reliably predicted for many years to come!

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  IanE
March 18, 2022 2:54 am

Griff’s employer is a green energy company, either that or Griff is 12 years old. There’s no other logical explanation

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 18, 2022 4:46 am

Griffo’s been posting too long to be 12 yrs old. Actually,
Griffo’s a very hard working person who has put in a
lot- I mean a whole lot- of overtime not only to become
ignorant but to be an expert at it. The hard work to
ignore reality has really paid off as shown by Griffo’s
non-response to my queries about all the dead birds &
pollution caused by wind generators. When it comes
to ignorance, Griffo’s unbeatable!!!

Reply to  Old Man Winter
March 18, 2022 8:26 am

I think you’ve nailed it.

Neuroplasticity is usually taken as a good thing, but it doesn’t have to be so. In this case, it’s possible to cripple one’s right brain hemisphere (literally, not just figuratively). That means a loss of the ability to consider context, an inability to admit one is wrong, and unwarranted over confidence. Also, people with such a deficit will make crap up rather than admitting they don’t know something. link The disconnect with reality mimics autism and schizophrenia.

The crippling of the right hemisphere can indeed be the result of the hard work it takes to get a ‘higher’ education. In the second link above, Iain McGilchrist points to evidence that such crippling may also be the result of children getting too much screen time.

So … defund the universities and don’t give your five year old a cell phone.

Reply to  Old Man Winter
March 20, 2022 12:34 am

“Griffo’s been posting too long to be 12 yrs old”

Chronologically, yes. Mentally, probably not.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 3:17 am

I think we can put like this:
Solar is reliably intermittent
Wind is unreliably intermittent

Reply to  Capell
March 18, 2022 3:36 am

Apart from cloudy days, when solar is also unreliably intermittent…..

Reply to  Capell
March 18, 2022 3:11 pm

Cloudy days,
Rain squalls,
Dust storms,
Dust devils,
Blown leaves,
Salt spray,
Sea gulls,
Bird droppings,
etc. etc.

Both solar and wind renewable energy are unreliable, produce intermittent inconsistent electricity of varying amperage, frequency and voltage.

The sort of stuff that powers giffie’s brain.

Captain climate
Reply to  Capell
March 21, 2022 3:39 am

You haven’t read about how stray clouds caused Europe’s grid to shift into panic mode a few years back?

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 3:31 am

What response, Griff?

Reply to  David Wojick
March 18, 2022 6:35 am

griff only lies, he never responds to refutations.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 3:49 am

Forecasts give an average and estimated gusts. The timing of the gusts is the chaotic portion of that. High gusts and sporadic lulls are what the grid has to tame and bring into line with actual demand. Many people pushing this farce are disingenuous about the details and deceive people such as yourself. Average wind velocity is not a design parameter for grid design. It’s effective only in harvesting subsidies.

Reply to  RobK
March 18, 2022 6:37 am

As others have pointed out, average is worthless when it comes to running a power grid. Power grids are required to match instantaneous demand with instantaneous production. Hoping that the wind will pick up in a minute or two is of no use when your grid is collapsing now.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 6:53 am

The other problem is what happens when overproduction occurs. Grids are also volatile when too much energy is sent down the line.

Maybe Griff can tell us the consequences of oversupply on a transmission grid!

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 3:59 am

How could you believe and state such an obvious falsehood. You must either be a braindead idiot or a green energy troll. On second thought, you are both.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 4:25 am

allowing for a measured and timely response

With the response being to crank up natural gas and coal-fired electric plants?

Reply to  ihfan
March 18, 2022 6:39 am

Last fall, griff assured us that it didn’t matter that offshore wind died off for several weeks, because the remaining coal fired plants were able to carry the load.
The only thing was that he had spent all summer crowing about how all the coal plants were slated for destruction in a couple of years.

Steve E.
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 4:38 am


To get laughed at to your face (instead of this virtual stuff), go find yourself the nearest marina, and talk to the sailors. Convince them “The amount of wind is reliably known 24 hours in advance…”

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 5:08 am

My dear Griff.

You make these statements which would be very interesting if true. Sometimes you say stuff that is at least technically true. You never provide evidence though, so how can we tell the difference. Come on buddy, you can do better.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 5:48 am

Oh really? Here’s an exercise for you griff. I say, “no” there is no such forward looking forecast. Post here a forecast for any site for the next 24 hours, in 15 minute increments (the usual settlement period) and then we’ll watch the real time evolution. That way you can prove us wrong. I, for one, will not be holding my breath.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:34 am

griff keeps repeating this lie, I guess he’s hoping that if he repeats it enough, it will become true.
We may know that today will be more or less windy than yesterday. However that isn’t enough to run a wind power system.

We need to know on a minute by minute basis what the wind speed is going to be within about 1 mph for each wind turbine in the country.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:53 am

griff, what an absolutely absurd statement!

Anyone who has ever:
— sailed a sailboat
— piloted an airplane
— piloted a hot air balloon
— planned more than 6 hours in advance to go windsurfing
— planned more than 6 hours in advance to go fly a kite or drone
— scheduled an outdoor event, such as an outdoor wedding reception
knows that such a statement is provably false.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 18, 2022 9:05 am

Despite the many knowledgeable folk who have once again refuted claim regarding wind forecasts, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that within 3 months, griff will repeat this ridiculous claim.

Climate believer
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 10:01 am

3 months! very generous.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Climate believer
March 18, 2022 1:34 pm

Yeah, it’s just a preprogrammed output for when the griffbot “sees” anything about wind being intermittent.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  MarkW
March 22, 2022 10:31 am

Three months? That long? That’s shooting fish in a barrel. No bet.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 18, 2022 3:36 pm

“Anyone who has ever:

— sailed a sailboat”

Planned any sort of boating.
I’ve gone out a number of times when the winds were predicted to be “Calm” with 1 foot to 2 foot seas.

Then putted at low speed back to the boat launch through 4′ – 6′ seas.

Weathermen reading their predictions produced by the same models used by alarmists for climate modeling.

Mike Maguire
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 10:11 am

griff comes here to ruffle feathers and get attention.
That’s indisputably the only reason. There’s 0 engagement in discussions and 0 expectation on his part that anybody is going to learn something from his posts.

He’s the quintessential example of a troll. You know the saying about feeding a troll.

griff must be an extremely obese troll!

If you like his presence here…………..keep attacking(feeding him).

If every response to griff went bye bye…………so would he but that ain’t gonna happen!

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 10:30 am

So – what do we do when we know there’s not enough wind? Go out and manually spin the turbines?

“The good news is, we know tomorrow and the day after will be low wind! The bad news is we can’t fire up natural gas or coal to backstop because Climate Change”

James Schrumpf
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 11:20 am

I refuse to insult your intelligence by pretending that you believe what you just said.

Rich Lentz
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 1:52 pm

I have lived in over ten cities throughout the US and have been stationed over seas, Spain and Guam and the average prediction of tomorrow’s weather, even in areas strongly controlled by the nearby ocean, was never correct more than 60% percent of the time – and that is giving them credit for rain showers when all we got is a sprinkle, a few snow flakes instead of a predicted 2 inches, etc.

So. If you are considering the 60% accuracy is reliable prediction then OK, However, would you buy a NEW car that was only 60% reliable? 80%? 95%? Even at 95% you would miss work, or not be on time over 18 days a year! Can you live without electricity 18 days of the year or 438 hours out of the year spread out throughout the year?

That is what 60% reliability gives you, Wind and Solar are more like 30% reliable. That translates to over 200 days out of the year with electricity problems with 100% of our electricity powered from Renewable’s. The number of batteries needed to get to 95% reliability is physically impossible to design and construct and achieve that level of dependability. And 95% reliability will leave you with more dead people than ignoring climate change completely and doing nothing. Net ZERO CO2 is a SCAM. It only helps the investors and primarily China, building the junk.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 1:59 pm

Facts would help, if you had any.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 8:21 pm

What kind of response? You would have all dispatchable and reliable forms of energy banned. Once you go all-unreliables, the only solution will be blackouts when you can’t meet demand.

Bill S
Reply to  griff
March 19, 2022 8:51 am

I will accept your premise, but the question you deliberately left unaddressed is the source of the energy from which the measured and timely response is made.

It cannot be wind energy, more windmills will all be similarly affected. It cannot be solar power. Solar power cannot be ramped up on demand to meet the decrease in wind power. It cannot even be nuclear. Nuclear power by its nature cannot readily be ramped up and down. Nuclear provides a constant baseline flow of reliable power. It cannot be batteries. Grid scale batteries that can store enough electricity to meet the demand of a city for a couple of days to a week have yet to be invented, tested, and implemented.

That leaves gas powered turbines, which can quickly be spun up or down to meet fluctuations in unreliable power.

The low of the wind farms is 10% of capacity. As a result, GB will need back up gas turbines with the capacity to meet 90% of demand. As a result of the need for back up, and the range of fluctuations, two parallel systems are required, at twice the cost, with one system or the other on standby. The wind farms will be on standby when there is no wind, and the gas turbines when there is plenty of wind.

So, Griff, how do we reach carbon neutral by 2050?

Reply to  griff
March 20, 2022 12:03 am

Response from what? Rotating blackouts? Alarmists have brainwashed themselves into thinking NO fossil fuel or nuclear generation is required and have already pushed to close them down before enough fake-green sources and battery/storage is built.

Captain climate
Reply to  griff
March 21, 2022 3:37 am

Low IQ person says you can predict minute by minute wind speed 24 hours in advance.

Reply to  griff
March 21, 2022 2:38 pm

Thank you Griff. You are correct. And that is what we do. We have dispatchable generation that is idle much of the time waiting to power up when the wind is low. This dispatchable power is either coal, gas, nuclear, or hydro. These idle plants cost significant amount of money. The cost of these plants operating sub optimal are not included in the cost of wind power. But wind is not viable without them.

We could use batteries, but, with current technologies, it would cost even more.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  griff
March 21, 2022 3:54 pm

Absolute nonsense.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  griff
March 21, 2022 4:04 pm

Even if your daft claim was true, reliably knowing that the next 24 hours will produce zero wind, destroys any hope of boiling your kettle or switching on the lights, tomorrow.

ken morgan
Reply to  RobK
March 19, 2022 4:36 am

they do not tell us the energy used to keep the gear boxes at operation temp when the wind dose not blow

Steve Case
March 17, 2022 10:20 pm

We have been promised 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, but in reality the most we can actually rely on is 3 GW.

That’s 3 GW and not 30 GW right? An over estimation factor of greater than ten is really quite a claim.

And yes the wind doesn’t blow much at night. Follow this LINK to your favorite airport and the graphic will usually show winds close to calm at night

Bryan A
Reply to  Steve Case
March 17, 2022 10:50 pm

We have been promised 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, but in reality the most we can actually rely on is 3 GW.
So all they need to do to make good on their promise, on the lowest capacity day, is to increase their current coverage by 14 times (1400%) current available generation

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Bryan A
March 18, 2022 11:26 am

Nitpicking to the extreme, but if 2x is a 100% increase, wouldn’t 14x be a 1300% increase?

Reply to  James Schrumpf
March 18, 2022 5:59 pm

That one always catches me too.

Reply to  Steve Case
March 18, 2022 1:49 am

I’d say we will have more like 58GW by 2030.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:30 am

Capacity, maybe. How much generation?

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 18, 2022 3:24 am

In 2021 the minimum output from the UK windturbines was 35MW or 0.035GW if you like. For 10% of 2021 output was less than 1GW. The installed capacity last year was 12GW. So at 58GW you can expect less than 5GW** for 10% of the year. That 10% will happen when the weather decides not when is convenient.

** Taking account of the fact the best sites are already in use and the energy can only be extracted once so downwind there is less energy available.

During 2021 the maximum increase in wind output in 5 minutes was 2.9GW and maximum decrease 3.3GW.

All data from

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 18, 2022 3:26 am

for 10% of the year.

should read

for more than10% of the year.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 18, 2022 6:41 am

Still about 3GW, since all the best spots have already been taken. The extra 18GW will be producing even less actual power.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
March 18, 2022 7:33 am

(deleted by me. JM)

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:33 am

What do you base that on? How many turbines will that be?

I’d say, its impossible to install that many by then. And that if you do install them, there will not be a transmission network which can deliver the power to where its needed. And if you could do both of these two impossible things, you cannot install enough batteries or storage to allow the 58GW to be used.

And if you want proof of this last, just look here:

Wind power production

They are right. In order to deliver anything like the required supply you would have to install face plate of several times the 58GW. I don’t know if its as high as 300GW as someone has said in another comment, but its several times the 58GW faceplate.

And then you need storage. How much extra capacity you need will depend on how much storage you budget. But its going to be huge.

If you really believe what you are posting just say:

  • How many turbines by 2030?
  • How much storage?

Put some numbers on it.

Climate believer
Reply to  michel
March 18, 2022 4:54 am

“Put some numbers on it.”

That would involve the Grifter having to face reality.

Grifter only does propaganda for the eco-fascists.

Reply to  michel
March 18, 2022 6:42 am

In griff’s world, if there is a press release, that proves that not only is it possible, but it’s already been done.

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:25 am

58GW by 2030 …

During 2021 the total (offshore plus onshore) nominal “capacity” of wind turbines contributing to the GB grid went from ~23GW to ~24GW (DUKES data only available to Q3 2021).

Using BM Reports + ESO data, with their 30-minute “Settlement Period” (SP) time resolution, had actual “Wind” generation (averaged over half an hour) ranging from 0.34 GW (340 MW, for one SP on 22/7/2021) to 18.74 GW (on 3/5/2021).

Using those numbers for your “say” (based on what ???) of 58 GW “capacity” in 2030 gives actual output in the 820 MW (1.4% of your “nominal / nameplate” 58 GW …) to 45.3 GW (78%).

– – – – – –

PS : Note the similarity of the overall shape of the “Wind Max (GW)” line [ for GB offshore plus onshore, remember … ] for January 2022 to the bar graph in the ATL article for the CfD windfarms that “account for about a half of total UK offshore generation”.

Note also the exceptional lack of “dips” in the 28 days (4 weeks) of February 2022, with “Max” values in the range 14.36 GW (on the 2nd) to 19.53 GW (on the 17th).

The “Max” on 25/1/2022 was 7.05 GW while on 1/3/2022 (!) it was 8.42 GW (followed by only 5.15 GW just 3 days later).

I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you soon about just how “reliable” wind can be based on those specific 28 days …

Mark BLR
Reply to  Mark BLR
March 18, 2022 6:35 am

Follow up post.

Why I “say”, why I truly belieeeeeeeeeeve (hallelujah !), that griff et al will be talking a lot about “February 2022” soon as it relates to wind electricity generation for the GB grid (and/or “the UK”) …

James Bull
Reply to  Mark BLR
March 21, 2022 4:24 am

We should try to match our usage to the production then all will be well.
The easy solutions are always the best.

Heavy Heavy sarc

James Bull

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:41 am

griff really does get a kick out of wasting other people’s money.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:58 am

And the reason that anyone should consider just what you say is . . .?

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 7:37 am

By 2030 you will still be recovering from the backlash in British (and world) economy triggered by the idiotic sanctions imposed on Russia and Russian “oligarchs” following the demential pressure of American “oligarchs” such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Larry Page, Alice Walton, Michael Bloomberg, etc.
So, by 2030 you will be pulling your pockets inside out to search for the money needed to get enough oil and gas supply to keep UK running: there is no money left to go on with the delirious “energy transition”, there will be no money to build windmills (i.e., no money from the state to subsidise the building thereof), there will be not enough yuans to buy the cheap (by then more expensive) photocells.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 5:51 pm

“I’d say we will have more like 58GW by 2030.”

You think this windmill scam is going to last that long?

Reply to  griff
March 19, 2022 6:11 am

I would say the UK is racing towards being 3rd world by 2030

Reply to  Steve Case
March 18, 2022 6:44 am

How many of the existing turbines will have been taken offline because they have reached the end of their useful lives by then?

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 7:51 am

And how is the energy produced by the remaining ones used to provide their replacements? Actually, the real question is “how on Earth can the energy produced by windmills be used to produce more windmills?”

I’ve posed this question to griff in an indirect manner two or three times in these comments, in the following form:

  1. What is the definition of “renewable” in the context of energy?
  2. Why is renewable energy desirable?

To date, I’ve received no response.

I submit that it is impossible to replace one wind turbine using the energy provided by one preceding wind turbine, and have any surplus energy left to supply the grid for general use purposes. But it isn’t up to me to prove that. It’s up to the griffs of the world to prove that it is possible. Then, and only then, can they legitimately claim that wind energy is “renewable.”

March 17, 2022 10:49 pm

Why no information on theoretical maximum output. As is, there is no real information about whether or not the result approaches break even?

Jeroen B.
Reply to  AndyHce
March 18, 2022 12:57 am

Because you can’t power anything from theoretical electricity.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jeroen B.
March 18, 2022 7:01 am

^^^^ What he said! ^^^

+ 1 million intergalactic credits for that simple, elegant sentence.

Reply to  AndyHce
March 18, 2022 12:58 am

Generally any maximum RE generation turns up altogether and curtailment follows because it isn’t possible to absorb all the output. Futile attempts to divert to say, H2 production really just kicks the can down the road because that infrastructure is then only intermittently utilised. We end up with a situation where sometimes all things are sweet, interspersed with periods of shortage and glut. Each require more expenditure.

Reply to  AndyHce
March 18, 2022 2:40 am

Once wind speed exceeds the design limit of the contraption it must shut down as feather so you must also allow for times when wind speed is excessive
This is very wasteful as energy extraditable is a function of speed cubed (not squared)

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  H B
March 18, 2022 3:35 am

To be fair winds in the UK don’t often reach shut down speeds. Neither do they reach the optimum speed of 12m/s (27mph) and certainly not consistently above it that often across most of the country.

For Griff get a friend to take you pillion on an electric motorcycle at 30mph down a quiet road and hold your hand above your head into the slipstream for a couple of miles to get an idea of what a 30mph wind is like.

Bob Ernest
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 18, 2022 4:39 am

Uh, can’t you just stick your arm out of a car driving anywhere at 30 mph? 😂

Mark BLR
Reply to  AndyHce
March 18, 2022 10:17 am

Why no information on theoretical maximum output.

These are used for what is usually called either “load factor” or “capacity factor” calculations.

See the DUKES 6.5, “Load factors for renewable electricity generation”, data under the following link for some concrete numbers for GB “Wind” and “Solar” load factors :

Spoiler alert …
Onshore wind load factor for calendar year 2020 ~ 28%,
Offshore wind ~ 45%,
Solar (PV) ~ 11%.

March 17, 2022 10:50 pm

but in reality the most we can actually rely on is 3 GW.

The only guaranteed output of wind turbines is ZERO. Probabilities may make that remote but it is the ONLY output that can be guaranteed.

Here is a test, ask the proponents of a wind project to offer a guaranteed output without reliance on some form of storage or fossil fuel back-up. Then get them to back the offer with a bank guarantee worth twice the value of the assets – would be interesting to see if any bank would be willing to set a price on such a guarantee. After all it will be expensive to tear down the useless wind farm and replace it with reliable generators.

James Bull
Reply to  RickWill
March 21, 2022 4:45 am

This gives an easy guide to how the answer is always ZERO.

Also gives me a chance to listen to such good things the BBC used to produce and seldom do today.

James Bull

March 17, 2022 10:52 pm

By my reckoning, this generation group would need approximately a 300 GWh battery to fill in that gap in generation below 50 GWh per day. How much does that cost?

Reply to  Bernie
March 18, 2022 5:05 am

Only six times larger? I’ve seen figures ranging from 20x up to 200x. Also keep in mind that the larger the storage, the larger the generation has to be to keep the storage topped up.

Reply to  Graeme#4
March 18, 2022 6:47 am

How long does it take to build a 200x battery? What are the odds that the first batteries installed will have to be replaced long before the last batteries have been installed?

Joe Born
Reply to  Bernie
March 18, 2022 7:11 am

For comparison, by my reckoning the number of hours of battery storage that ERCOT would have needed in a recent year to back up it (predominantly onshore) wind generation completely without curtailment would have been 957: over a month’s worth. The required storage initially drops fast with increasing overcapacity, but the returns to increased capacity diminish.

Fig 7.png
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bernie
March 18, 2022 7:21 am

. . . and how larger and more costly would the backup battery system have to be to make-up a below-average generated total output for, say, six consecutive days as was the case for Jan 10 thru Jan 15 as shown in the first graph of the above article?

And a subsequent 2-day below-average shortfall followed that with only a single intervening day of average total output . . . thus, the depleted supporting battery system could not have even been fully recharged in that single day.

So, based just on the January 2022 data presented, it looks like a battery backup system to support the average system load output has to be designed to supply make-up kWH of electricity for at least 10 days!

Good luck with that.

March 18, 2022 12:46 am

I’m surprised it was as high as that because here in the UK we have had months of very low winds over winter (before the storms turned up) Germany had the same low winds which is why we have an energy crisis this winter in Europe…..

Reply to  Anthony
March 18, 2022 1:16 am

Nope. We have an energy crisis because of greentards and moronic politicians.

March 18, 2022 1:48 am

Well, fear not, because the next rounds of wind will massively expand the geographical range e.g right round Scotland and with floating wind in areas not previously covered. Also the ramp up in Irish wind should see more frequent reverse flow from Eire to UK.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:42 am

In other words, huge ongoing construction/transmission/maintenance/repair costs that will be piled on to consumer energy bills.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:46 am

Absolute bull. Fracking will start in the UK with the next month.
XR will be locked up and they key thrown in the north sea

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 2:48 am

You are right, griff, the theoretical will increase massively, but, as others have asked, how do you propose to provide electricity when the wind don’t blow? When I worked in the N. Sea, one summer we had over 3 weeks when the wind never got above 3 knots, the whole of Western Europe, from the Urals to almost the Azores, was sitting in the middle of an enormous stationary high pressure cell.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 3:39 am

What makes you think that low wind conditions cause by a high pressure system over the North Sea only affect the land and not the North Sea?

Same question for English Channel, Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay and all the other usable sea areas?

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 18, 2022 6:50 am

Historically, high pressure systems that impact the North Sea, also impact Germany, France and Spain.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 5:29 am

If Wind doesn’t work on a small scale, why should it work on a large scale?

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 6:49 am

Europe isn’t that big, most weather systems hit most of it at the same time.
Beyond that, the best sites have already been taken, each additional site will produce proportionally less energy.

Joao Martins
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 7:42 am

… and you are going to build all that stuff with what money, if I may ask?

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2022 10:36 am

Also the ramp up in Irish wind should see more frequent reverse flow from Eire to UK.

Both the Moyle (Scotland to Northern Ireland) and East-West (Eire to Wales) interconnectors are limited to maximum power ratings of 500 MW (0.5 GW) each.

March 18, 2022 3:21 am

What “the wind always blows” hides is that it has to blow very hard to produce full power, which it seldom does. Hence the extreme variability, endlessly up and down the power curve.

March 18, 2022 3:34 am

How many pro-wind cheerleaders have ever captained a wind-powered boat?

A question for pro-wind cheerleaders … Why don’t container ships have sails?

March 18, 2022 6:30 am

Unless someone has found a way to move hills and mountains around, I don’t see how onshore could be more volatile than offshore.

Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 9:10 am

1) Completely ignores the fact that wind turbines shadow each other, so that the more wind turbines you install, the less power each additional wind turbine generates.
2) Assumes that max wind is blowing everywhere at once.
3) Doesn’t account for what happens when wind is blowing too strongly or too weakly.
4) Doesn’t account for how one powers the world when the wind isn’t blowing at all.
5) Most of that “wind” is too far from population centers to be useful.
6) Hasn’t factored in the cost of trying to place turbines in places where the water is several miles deep.

In other words, it’s non-peer reviewed nonsense, but it is the type of information a mathematically and science challenged fool would be impressed by.

Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 9:32 am

The Independent used to be such a good newspaper.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 11:30 am

Literally none of your attempted rebuttals are true, Mark. Yes, you’re lying. You’re simply spewing contra nonsense because this forum allows you to get away with it uncontested.

Here’s the source reference from the International Energy Agency. Tell us how wrong they are.

Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 1:45 pm

They are all completely true. But don’t let reality get in the way of a good fantasy.
BTW, I see you still haven’t accepted that fact that magnetic fields can degrade solid objects yet.

Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 1:55 pm

PS: I’ve already shown a few of the many places where your article is wrong. The scientific method now requires you to show how I am incorrect. Appeals to authority may be impressive to the crowd you run with, but it doesn’t impress scientists. If you ever manage to grow up, you may figure this out for yourself.

Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 11:15 am

And kill every seabird 18 times over too, BareRant. And use up all metals in the crust of the earth 18 times over making the windmills, their platforms, and worldwide underwater power grid, use up all fossil fuels 18 times over constructing the windmills and making the insulation for the underwater cables, and use the entire world’s workforce 18 times over maintaining the system which was put in one of the most corrosive environments on Earth.

Why don’t you try using your brain for once, BareRant – it just might be able to recognize a pathetically stupid article and keep you from exposing yourself as a fool.

Gordon A. Dressler
March 18, 2022 6:43 am

This concluding sentence of the above fact-based article is bitter, just like the winter winds around the UK:

“We have been promised 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, but in reality the most we can actually rely on is 3 GW.”

There you have it, folks . . . stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Kevin kilty
March 18, 2022 6:52 am

Often when dealing with statistical quantities like noise levels or wind speeds or even sunshine, one will quote the amount of energy exceeded 90%, or 95%, or 97.5%, etc. of the time. My service here in southeast wyoming has had a single 8 hour unplanned interruption in the past 8 years (99.98% available). This graph suggests that the 97.5% number is 8GW. In reality one needs a much longer series of “Januarys” and really should look at the situation on a shorter time scale, hours or even the shortest dispatch period which might be a couple of minutes. The night of the 14th may have had some number of hours without any wind production at all.

Then imagine that one has only wind energy to supply and is reporting to the public service commission that there is a reserve margin of 10% of anticipated demand (say at 97.5% of the time), but not explaining to folks that this wind energy graph applies to the available reserve margin. There was a white paper several years ago pointing out that Ercot was doing exactly this.

Expect surprises!

On a related note one of my senior capstone design groups is preparing a mock “bid” for a wind energy block in the Gulf of Mexico. I asked them what wind speeds they were designing for, and I expected them to give a fairly significant figure. However, they told me the average wind speed is 7m/s. I was a bit taken aback. We think of offshore wind as being a large and steady resource, but 7m/s wind contains only 25% of the energy density of wind at 10m/s. No wonder those offshore turbines are such monstrosities.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 18, 2022 7:45 am

Kevin, I like your post but believe you made a mis-statement here:
” . . . but 7m/s wind contains only 25% of the energy density of wind at 10m/s.”

Wind power (not energy density) scales as the cube of wind velocity, and even then (7/10)^3 = 0.34, equivalent to a power ratio difference of 34%, not 25%.

Treating air as essentially incompressible flow for speeds of 7-10 m/s, the energy density (expressed either as KE/m^3, or as KE/kg) would scale as V^2, not as V^3, since kinetic energy is established by KE=0.5*m*V^2. The energy density ratio would then be (7/10)^2 = 0.49, equivalent to a difference of 49%, not 25%.

Or have you also factored in some other velocity-dependent inefficiency occurring between 7 and 10 m/s wind speeds?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 18, 2022 7:58 am

No, you are correct, I meant to hit 35% and missed.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 18, 2022 9:41 am

And I see that I should have stated this as kinetic energy density flux — i.e. extractable power. The point is, I was surprised…There.

March 18, 2022 6:57 am

It’s impossible trying to have a sensible discussion about these things because climate ‘science’ has turned into a religious dogma and anyone who dares to challenge the faith is just labelled as a heretic who should be burned at the stake.

The only way things are going to change is when they don’t work, regardless of whether this wastes trillions of dollars or pounds in the process. What we’ve seen on the back of the Ukraine crisis is a case in point. I’ve been saying for years, as have many others on this site, that countries relying on Russia for energy were playing an extremely dangerous game. Yet they continued to do so, possibly because they thought renewables would meet the required demand far more reliably than has proved to be the case or because they didn’t believe Putin would turn out to be the tyrant he is.

Either way the West is now paying the price for dreadful decision-making and over reliance on energy sources, such as wind, which the environmental zealots claimed would be far more reliable than it really is.

This post nicely demonstrates the difference between the fact and fiction of renewable energy, which is great on paper but pretty useless in reality. All I keep hearing now is that wind and solar are “much cheaper” than fossil fuels, which is ridiculous given their intermittency and unreliability. But it’s only when the lights start going out, hospitals fail and prices become so high that nobody can afford to heat their homes that reality will hit.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  MarkW2
March 18, 2022 7:11 am

But just as the Ercot fiasco of a year ago “taught” people that we need more renewables, not more dispatchables, in the grid, they appear to have had this preferred truth reinforced by the Russia-Ukraine fiasco.

Some people don’t come to the school of hard knocks prepared to learn.

Barry Anthony
Reply to  MarkW2
March 18, 2022 9:30 am

This post nicely demonstrates the difference between the fact and fiction of renewable energy, which is great on paper but pretty useless in reality.

It’s comment that simply underscore a dogged obsession with ignoring reality. Renewables work. They’re cheaper and cleaner than fossil fuels. This is why they’re being deployed at rates that far exceeded the estimates of even optimists 20 years ago. They are, in fact, being installed faster than any other source of electricity in history.

Reply to  Barry Anthony
March 18, 2022 10:54 am

Speaking of ignoring reality, here comes Barry repeating his lies that renewables work when the real world data shows that it doesn’t. The real world data also shows that it is by far the most expensive form of power. They can only pretend that it is cheap by ignoring the cost of decommissioning, overstating the lifespan of renewables, understating the lifespan of fossil fuel plants and completely ignoring the cost of backup.

The rate of installation depends 100% on extensive subsidies and government mandates. When renewables have to compete on an even footing, they are always abandoned.

Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2022 3:04 pm

The rate of installation depends 100% on extensive subsidies and government mandates. When renewables have to compete on an even footing, they are always abandoned.

Exactly. If Wind and Solar were truly transformative technologies, there wouldn’t be a single fossil fuel or nuclear power plant in the World by now. The Market would have ensured the better technology displaced the older technology within a few years, in the way personal computers replaced electric typewriters (remember them?) within a decade.

Reply to  Graemethecat
March 18, 2022 6:04 pm

And before Barry gets a chance to go off on his usual rantings about subsidies.
No, being allowed to deduct legitimate business expenses is not a subsidy. All companies do it, even renewable energy companies.

Jeff corbin
March 18, 2022 8:06 am

Wind volatility is a windy subject Who really knows when or where the wind will blow. The real question is who is going to pay for the maintenance on those bad boys as they sit in sea water and salt air for decades to come. The entire endeavor stinks of political leverage.

March 18, 2022 8:21 am

You can’t even rely on 3 GW. At any time, output could drop to zero. Is it likely that there won’t be a little wind blowing somewhere? No, but you can’t count on it.

Mark BLR
Reply to  wadesworld
March 19, 2022 3:43 am

At any time, output could drop to zero.

“Zero” is an exaggeration … but not by much !

Attached is a monthly version of the “Min-Max” graph I posted earlier (in response to griff’s “we will have more like 58GW by 2030” post).

NB : My “BM Reports + ESO” datasets are provided as pre-processed “thirty-minute / half-hour averages”. Variants of Gridwatch’s “sampled every five minutes” data will probably widen the range, both up and down …

Note also the “benefits” of being able to select the 28-day (/ 4-week) period during which you want to look for “the highest possible minimum value”, e.g. when those “28 days” just happen to be “February 2022”.

March 18, 2022 8:22 am

Offshore wind is a good way to go broke unless the subsidy mining pays dividends-
‘Offshore wind is fundamentally sick… no one’s making money’: ex-Orsted technology chief | Recharge (

Pat Smith
March 18, 2022 9:05 am

Here is a graphic showing the UK 2020 average daily wind power in GW, sorted from least windy day to most. On the least windy day, the total average power produced by all wind turbines (on- and off-shore) is 275MW, the greatest day was 12.666 GW, a 46 fold difference. Most importantly, the daily averages form a straight line between these two numbers – there are as many days below the average of 6.09 GW as above.

average wind power in 2020 sorted least to most.png
Coach Springer
March 18, 2022 10:44 am

So how vulnerable is our whole grid to sabotage of off-shore wind farms? Asking for a dystopian friend.

Reply to  Coach Springer
March 18, 2022 6:21 pm

A few feet of det cord would likely cut through the main structure like a knife through hot butter. Speaking for a dystopic friend.

Geoffrey Williams
March 18, 2022 2:00 pm

A simple and straightforward study confirms the futility of wind energy . .

Rich Lentz
March 18, 2022 2:20 pm

Still not mentioned in any publication of Wind Turbine farm output is the INPUT or “House load, power needed to make power, etc. Typically it is approximately 10% of the rated name plate output.

Daily production ranges from 8322 to 84984 MWh, with a monthly average of 49245 MWh.”

Ten percent of 90,000 is 9,000 that means the NET, not gross energy produced – (Production – minus house load) on average is 49,245 – 9000 = 40,245 or about 45% of name plate power provided.

I provide that number with caution as averages of averages do NOT produce the true, actual, average of the individual discrete daily numbers.

March 18, 2022 11:25 pm

This graphic shows the recorded hourly wind power output for Germany in 2021

Screenshot 2022-03-19 at 07.23.16.png
John Furst
March 19, 2022 4:51 am

Missing in discussion of wind and solar:
Existing, reliable, stable electric generating capacity must be in place and some running when wind and solar is on /off or below instantaneous demand.

Instability of frequency/voltage at any moment (seconds and minutes, not hours, days) threatens disasterous, wide-spread, damaging grid collapse…safety trips and blackouts that take time to recover from. The damage to equipment sometimes takes hours to recover (with available, adequate, stable, reliable reserves), often days or even months to replace damaged equipment. Human casualties are incurred within hours.

Only an intentionally ignorant regulator/politician/etc or terrorist would remove reliable electric sources BEFORE reliable replacements are in place!

March 20, 2022 12:19 am

From that one graph alone I figured at least 300 MWh of storage capacity are needed to fill in the supply to maintain the average. Has anyone run an analysis of the past, say, ten years to see how much storage is required for each GW of capacity to meet demand reliably?

I’m trying to keep an open mind – even if the green scheme seems to be getting every more complex and expensive, an energy Rube Goldberg machine, with solar panels and wind turbines spread out all over the land and sea connected by an ugly and vulnerable web of power tines to huge farms of batteries and to relatively small dams for storage.

Captain climate
March 21, 2022 3:46 am

Renewables are just magic. It’s not supposed to be a plan that involved practicality. You’re supposed to just virtue signal and let the engineers figure it out, and then act surprised when the cost of energy quintuples.

James Bull
March 21, 2022 4:17 am

Sorry I’m a bad person with a bad sense of humour!
I read the title and my first thought was….
How quickly do the windmills catch fire?

James Bull

Dan M
March 21, 2022 10:35 am

Although Paul does not state this, based on his numbers, the maximum generating capacity of all of these wind farms put together is 119MW.

For the month cited, the maximum generation that was reached was 84984MW on one day, which is only 71.4% of capacity.

The average per day was 49245MW, which is only 41% of capacity. For roughly 1/4 of the time, generation averaged below 20% of capacity.

Assuming this month is representative of an average month, alternative sources (fossil fuels, anyone?) are needed to supply 80% of power capacity for 8 days each month at random times.

No one in their right mind would look at these numbers and say that wind power makes sense.

But what about battery backups? Well, first, multiply by many times the number of wind turbines in order to get your output up to meet required output. Then spend trillions of dollars to build battery backups. Then every 5 years spend trillions again (plus inflation) to replace those batteries with new ones.

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