# The Cost of Virtue Signaling – the Impact of Doubling UK Wind Power

Bill Ponton

In this article, I will quantify the cost to UK electricity customers of doubling wind power generation. This cost would be in addition to what customers are paying currently. Think of it as a premium one pays to virtue signal.

Let’s start by taking a close look at the current state of electric power generation in the UK. In 2022, the UK derived: 24% of its electric energy from wind generation, 43% from gas turbine generation and 33% from other sources such as coal, nuclear, hydro and biomass. Table 1 details the exact quantities in MWH for each power generation source. The data used to derive these quantities was downloaded from GridWatch with power generation in MW from each source observed at 2.5 min intervals [1]. Figure 1 is a stacked graph of the wind, gas turbine and other power generation. The graph is instructive in that it shows wind generation varying in magnitude over time and gas turbine generation being dispatched to offset those fluctuations.

Table 1:

Figure 1:

The UK currently has 28 GW wind power capacity, 14 GW of onshore and 14 GW of offshore, with the potential to generate 245,280 GWH per year [2]. It actually generated 61,631 GWH in wind energy in 2022 or approximately 25% of the total wind power capacity.

To understand the impact that a doubling of wind power capacity would have on wind energy generation, one needs to double the value of wind power generation at each observation point in the 2022 GridWatch dataset. It results in total wind generation of 123,311 GWH per year. In addition, gas turbine power generation needs to be reduced at each interval by the amount required to keep the new sum of wind and gas turbine power generation equal to the original sum.  However, at intervals where a doubling of wind power exceeds the original sum, wind power should be limited to the value of the original sum.  In addition, gas turbine power generation must not fall below 2,000 MW at any time. (This is also the case with the actual data where gas turbine power generation only falls below 2,000 MW for 0.25% of the time) These constraints result in a curtailment of wind energy generation of 31,438 GWH (or 25.5% of the total wind energy generated) and useful wind energy generation of 91,873 GWH (or 35% of the total energy provided to the grid) as detailed in Table 2. Figure 2 is a stacked graph of yearly data under the doubling of wind power scenario.

Table 2

Figure 2

It is important to understand that a doubling of wind power generation does not enable gas turbine generation capacity to be reduced. The legacy gas turbine capacity must be available at a moment’s notice to ramp up and compensate for vacillations in wind power. Therefore, the cost of operating and maintaining  (O&M) gas turbine generation is not diminished. However, gas turbine generation is reduced by 30,217 GWH per year resulting in 194,327,778 MMbtu of thermal energy savings or \$971,638,889 of fuel cost savings per year as detailed in Table 3, assuming the prior 20-year average of \$5 USD/MMbtu [3].

Table 3

The capital cost of building wind power generation, excluding financing expense, is \$6,041 USD/kW for offshore and \$1,718 USD/kw for onshore [4].  An additional 14 GW offshore and 14 GW onshore would cost in capital \$84,574,000,000 and \$24,052,000,000, respectively.  The additional wind power generation O&M cost is \$115 USD/kW-y for offshore and \$27 USD/kW-y for onshore [4].  An additional 14 GW offshore and 14 GW onshore would cost in O&M \$1,610,000,000/year and \$378,000,000/year, respectively, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4

Assuming a WACC after tax of 4.4% [5], financing the capital investment over the 20-year project life would cost UK electricity customers \$8,260,542,875 per year. The wind power O&M cost minus the CCGT fuel savings add an additional \$1,016,361,111 per year for a total of  \$9,276,903,985 per year. The total cost over the life of the project is \$185,538,079,707 (or NPV of \$121,991,131,529). With approximately 28,000,000 electricity customers in the UK, the additional cost for doubling of wind power capacity is \$6,626 (or NPV of \$4,357) per customer.

Shifting the UK wind/CCGT generation mix from 24%/43% to 35%/31% by doubling wind power capacity at a cost of \$185B must be disappointing to true believers in the virtue of wind power.  Moreover, the cost of this scheme dwarfs the cost of a scheme that includes battery storage as a way of increasing the contribution from wind power generation.

References:

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Hysteria
February 11, 2023 10:04 pm

Hopefully at least some of the senior staff in our new “Department of Energy and Net Zero” will understand this ……..

John V. Wright
February 11, 2023 11:15 pm

Not a chance Hysteria. The U.K. contributes 0.000012% of global CO2 – and from there the plan is to move to Net Zero. Unfortunately, neither side of the House of Commons has a brain cell between them – facts and figures and the basics of science are beyond both Conservative and Labour MPs. They think that Milankovitch cycles are a two-wheeled circus act from Russia. Our only hope is that the up-and-coming Reform party gets some traction; at least their leaders don’t buy into the absurd proposition that manmade CO2 will lead to catastrophic global warming.

michel
February 12, 2023 12:53 am

“The U.K. contributes 0.000012% of global CO2”

Need to stop this nonsense. The UK emits about 450 million tons a year out of a global total of about 37 billion tons.

February 12, 2023 1:48 am

Michel, I think that should read “The UK contributes 0.06% of global CO2″ seeing as 95% of emissions are natural and nothing we can ever do will reduce that.
Everyone who has taken the time to do some research knows man made climate change is a load of b*ll*cks.

michel
February 12, 2023 3:40 pm

People, please wake up. What he must have done is take the UK’s annual emissions and expressed that as a percent of the total tonnage of CO2 in the atmosphere. At least I suppose that is what he has done, otherwise I can’t imagine where the 0.00012% comes from.

And then claimed that this is the percent the UK is contributing to… something undefined.

Its nonsense.

The meaningful figure is that the UK is contributing annually 1.2% of the total global emissions of all nations. Add up all the national totals and you get to about 37 billion tons annually, and 450 million tons is about 1.2% of that. China is contribution a bit over one third, or 11 billion tons a year.

This shows something important. It is that no matter what reductions the UK makes in its emissions, it cannot by unilateral action have any material effect on the total of global emissions. And in particular, electricity generation being no more than one third of its total emissions, even if it takes all its generation to wind and solar, that can even less have any material effect on global emissions.

He might want to argue that 37 billion tons is a tiny percentage of the total tonnage in the atmosphere. Well then, say that if that’s what you mean.

Don’t express annual flows compared with total stock as a percentage. Its nonsense. Or at least, if you are going to do it and make a point of it, say what you are comparing and why its relevant to the argument.

Actually, human emissions seem to be having quite some effect on the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere. They have risen from about 280ppm pre-industrial to about 420ppm today.

I don’t think this is anything to be very worried about, but that is what has happened, and there’s no point throwing around silly numbers in the effort to obscure it.

PCman999
February 12, 2023 8:23 am

“facts and figures and the basics of science are beyond both Conservative and Labour MPs. ” … and beyond even scientists! They are the primary ones frving this insanity.

Bryan A
February 11, 2023 11:27 pm

Something that only works 25% of the time and making yourself dependent upon it is foolish. Doubling down on foolishness is stupidity.
Increasing capacity by 400% may sound like the proper plan BUT…
you will still have a source that doesn’t generate 75% of the time.
So you will need to store that energy from when it is produced to when it is needed.
This I produces Losses along the way
…Line losses transmitting the power from where it is generated to where it is stored
…Transfer losses inherent in recharging batteries
…Additional losses discharging the back-up batteries into the transmission lines.
…Further losses converting DC to AC
With all the potential losses an additional 200% capacity may be required to meet the final end point demand.
Then, if homes are equipped with back-up batteries that discharge at night and recharge during the day, even more losses need to be added into generation capacity ultimately leading to a potential Overcapacity problem on days where greater than the 25% average is exceeded.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:44 am

You can add line losses from where it is stored to where it is needed.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 1:48 am

Dream on.

Sapper2
February 12, 2023 2:38 am

No, those senior staff are most of the problem. Politicians of here today and gone tomorrow are not masters of their portfolios, the civil servants that run those portfolios, together with their vested interest advisors, are. Major change will only come with their expunging.

Stephen Wilde
February 11, 2023 10:22 pm

A very useful analysis and answers a question that has been coming up more often recently.

joel
February 11, 2023 10:29 pm

“Moreover, the cost of this scheme dwarfs the cost of a scheme that includes battery storage as a way of increasing the contribution from wind power generation.”
Is this sentence correct? I thought that battery storage was the most expensive way to go.
But no matter, to the Greens any talk of dollars and sense (pun intended) is simply irrelevant.
﻿

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 1:50 am

I think he meant ‘would be dwarfed by’

jgmccabe
February 12, 2023 1:56 am

I suspect it should be “is dwarfed by”.

Tom Johnson
February 12, 2023 6:02 am

I agree. If you look at Figure 1, it becomes obvious that the major requirement for storage is seasonal, not overnight. The quantity of batteries becomes multiplied by the number of days storage needed. Compared with that, overnight storage costs are trivial.

February 12, 2023 6:40 am

You would need about 40TWh of batteries if you opt for an all wind, no curtailment solution.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:48 am

That is just to cover current demand. Add in converting all heating, all appliances, and all cars to electric, and the number of batteries needed goes up by at least a factor of 2 to 3.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:45 am

Who cares about how much other people have to pay, we’re saving the world from itself. /sarc

joel
February 11, 2023 10:32 pm

You have left out in your analysis the wholesale switch of industrial consumption, heating and transportation from fossil fuel to electricity. The Greens will say that the only constraint will be building a more robust grid. Which, of course, will drive the cost higher.

michel
February 12, 2023 12:35 am

“And third, the excess can be profitably exported.”

And, where is it to be exported to? And over what cables? Which have what capacity? This is the kind of thing that sounds great until you look at the specifics.

I don’t think there is any case that if the UK doubles its wind generation there would be a profitable market for the peak excess production. But if you think there is, make the case. Look at what the capacity of the cables is, look at what the state of demand in the linked jurisdictions at peak times, and look at prices during those periods.

Otherwise this is blind faith.

michel
February 12, 2023 12:36 am

Sorry, this was meant as a reply to Nick below…

bobpjones
February 12, 2023 3:00 am

Interestingly, there have been instances, where Norway, Denmark & Germany, have had to pay for other countries to take their excess power. I first read about this farce back in 2007 in an article about Denmark.

Why then is it not being made obvious to the public?

Joseph Zorzin
February 12, 2023 4:40 am

If it’s an ideal windy day in the UK, so that there is an excess of power- wouldn’t it likely also be windy in nearby France and the low countries? Just curious as I don’t know. If so, then where would the market be for that excess? Perhaps some days there might be a market but not every time there is that ideal windy day.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:50 am

If everybody else goes wind and solar, their times of excess production will match your times of excess production.
Even if you have the means to sell your excess electricity, there will be no buyers.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 8:41 am

Plus:-

In the summer and early autumn of 2021 Europe experienced a long period of dry conditions and low wind speed which seriously affected wind generation.

In the UK and parts of Ireland April – September was the least windy period in in 60 years. SSE said it’s unreliable assets saw a 32% drop in power production.

Research by Bristol and Reading Universities shows that periods of stagnant high atmosphere pressure over central Europe which leads to prolonged low wind conditions could become the most difficult challenge for wind power in the future

The latest IPCC report suggests average wind speeds in Europe could decline by 10% in the future.

https://energypost.eu/climate-change-wind-droughts-and-the-implications-for-wind-energy/

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave Andrews
Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 8:19 pm

“what cables”

From Wiki
“As of 2022, the total capacity of these connectors is about 7.7 GW.[citation needed] They include direct-current cables to northern France (2 GW HVDC Cross-Channel, 1 GW HVDC IFA-2, 1 GW ElecLink via the Channel Tunnel[40]); Belgium (1 GW HVDC Nemo Link); the Netherlands (1 GW HVDC BritNed); Norway (1.4 GW HDVC North Sea Link); Northern Ireland (500 MW HVDC Moyle Interconnector); and the Republic of Ireland (500 MW HVDC East–West Interconnector).”

But if you think there is, make the case. “

The case has been made. People with serious funds have looked at it. And they are building wind turbines as fast as they can.

February 13, 2023 4:07 am

No they aren’t.

Investments in wind energy in Europe fell in 2022. Orders for new wind turbines were down 47% on 2021. The problem is inflation, with costs rising at a higher rate than prospective revenues. Investors are also being turned away by unhelpful national interventions in electricity markets. The EU must make Europe an attractive place for renewables investments again – the forthcoming market design proposals must address this. The fall in investments and turbine orders is also compounding the problems faced by Europe’s wind energy supply chain. The Net-Zero Industry Act can’t come soon enough.
WindEurope latest data on wind turbine orders in Europe in 2022 paints an extremely worrying picture. Total orders for new wind turbines in 2022 fell by 47% on 2021. The EU saw only 9 GW worth of new turbine orders. This reflects a fall in new investments in wind energy that were announced last year: the first 11 months saw final investment decisions for only 12 GW of new wind farms.** The EU needs to build 30 GW of new wind farms a year under its new energy and climate security targets.
The EU has big ambitions for offshore wind: to get from more than 15 GW today to over 100 GW by 2030. Several offshore wind farms were expected to reach financial close last year, but final investment decisions were delayed due to inflation, market interventions and uncertainty about future revenues.

Moreover, interconnector investments are also going on hold as countries discover that governments value security of supply over helping out their neighbours at great cost to themselves. France, Norway and Ireland have all implemented forms of export ban to the UK. The UK cancelled one of the proposed links to France (Aquind) a year ago.

michel
February 13, 2023 11:28 pm

Yes, and don’t forget that even the ones being installed would never have got to first base without huge subsidies. No-one would ever buy power from a windfarm if not compelled to (by the UK Renewables Obligation) and no-one would ever build one without the security of Contracts for Difference.

Take off the subsidies, all of them, and the compulsory purchases, and then see what happens to wind. It will fall to nothing except in odd isolated islands and dwellings.

The plain fact is that wind generated power in raw form, because of its extreme variability and unreliability, is not usable. And when the additional equipment is installed to make it half-way usable, it is not cost competitive.

bobpjones
February 12, 2023 3:17 am

Prof Michael Kelly (Electrical & Electronic Eng), U of Cambridge, has done a study on this and given a comprehensive presentation.

Converting everything to electrical, will effectively require a tripling of energy requirements. Not only will it require a “beefier” grid, but also, the local connections to customer premises, and local substations.

He also logically questions, where will they find the skills to upgrade, and very significantly the materials.

https://youtu.be/xXv-ugeTLlw

Last edited 1 month ago by bobpjones
Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 8:15 am

The UK grid is already telling new unreliable generation that it will take up to 15 years before they can be hooked up to it. The more such unreliables proliferate the worse the situation will become.

Nick Stokes
February 11, 2023 10:36 pm

An obvious fallacy comes to mind immediately. The assumption in going from Fig 1 to Fig 2 is that while wind output doubled, only gas is allowed to contract, and that with a irreducible 2000 MW. The result is that half the new wind production would be curtailed, which obviously makes the balance look bad. But firstly the doubling is well into the future, so demand will have risen. Second, other kinds of generation can be displaced by wind. And third, the excess can be profitably exported.

I’ll keep looking into the figures.

Mr David Guy-Johnson
February 11, 2023 11:10 pm

Clutching at straws springs to mind darling.

Nick Stokes
February 11, 2023 11:45 pm

Writing off half the added production due to false supposed constraints is not a minor shortfall. But there are plenty of others.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:02 am

February 12, 2023 7:57 am

How are they false? The UK spent much of the year exporting to France to cover its nuclear shortfall, running additional gas to make that possible. The lower end of dispatchable generation is driven by the need for grid inertia and spinning reserve to cover not infrequent trips on interconnectors. The internal grid is already severely constrained and unable to handle large surplus generation from Scotland, yet needs to keep the lights on in the South (and for now, also in France).

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:16 am

Grid inertia is not a lower end. It can be replaced, at modest cost, by battery-powered control.

The internal grid can and will be improved. More interconnectors will be built.

February 12, 2023 11:48 am

And they will not solve the problems from all the extra capacity across Europe, combined with a shortage of dispatchable capacity. They will simply drive up costs.

Ben Vorlich
February 11, 2023 11:58 pm

Nick
All NW European countries are investing in wind, including France and Germany. I don’t know if you’ve studied European weather over the course of a year? But in summer and winter when additional cooling and heating are needed we tend to get the same weather conditions. Europe is a small continent, about a third bigger than Australia. Upshot is UK, Ireland, France, Benelux, Germany, Denmark southern Norway a,nd the North Sea all get the same weather.
Yesterday and today we had high pressure with two isobar covering virtually all the above area, at other times we have intense lows replacing the highs.
The overall result is that we will all have feast and famine at the same time. At the moment it’s famine and our 28GW is at 3GW fortunately it’s Sunday morning with low demand 25GW.

So for most, virtually all of our surplus days nobody in the aforementioned countries will need our surplus and will be dumping theirs at a loss. In times of famine they too will have a shortage and will not export except at astronomical cost. Either way the consumers across Europe will pay in 100s of millions of £/€.
You’ll have to think this through again. .

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 12:09 am

Upshot is UK, Ireland, France, Benelux, Germany, Denmark southern Norway a,nd the North Sea all get the same weather.”

Try telling that to the French 🙂

But no, high winds are fairly local. Feasts won’t all come at once.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 12:22 am

That’s unadultered nonsense, I suggest you actually study the data.
Very high winds, the ones that blow windmills over are local, the rest of the weather patterns will cover almost all of the area I mentioned and sometimes more for periods extending to weeks, or months in the case of last year’s drought, look it up if you missed it.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 1:21 am

No, winds mainly come with cyclonic patterns. Lulls might be widespread, but generally cyclones vary a lot over those distances. Here is the current nullschools map for wind in N Europe. Plenty of scope for Ireland, Scotland and Norway to export to Europe.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:14 am

No, not really. Ireland is not exporting anything, Norway has no windmills – it has hydro.
You are misinterpering that map. It is not current conditions, it is forceast, and it does not show wind speeds

Retiredinky
February 12, 2023 9:32 am

earth.nullschool.net – it shows wind speeds, exact location and temperature in the lower left hand corner. Click on a point and read. Someplace I read it is updated every 3 minutes.

michel
February 12, 2023 1:22 am

Yes. Look at last summer. The heat wave was continental in extent.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:11 am

Once again pure handwavey ignorance is on display
High winds are not the point. Low winds are the point and anticyclones are continent spanning entities.

Today is a perfect example. An anticyclone sits centred over France extending down to North Africa and across all of Western Europe.
Only because it is Sunday and nations like France and Holland with surplus nuclear power are able to supply the UK without resort to much gas.

UK and France are both supplying less than 10% from wind.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 3:21 am

High winds are not the point. Low winds are the point “

No, high winds are the point here. The claim is that surplus could not be exported because everyone has it.

sherro01
February 12, 2023 5:00 am

Nick,
Again, you can see from past recorded energy production what happens in reality, so you wonder what happens in theory.
I say, for example, that the German Energiewende has been a very expensive mistake with little room for future improvement if the same courses are continued.
What say you? Do you say, in theory, it works, but in practice it is a failure? It is worth the money because we learn from our mistakes? Geoff S

February 12, 2023 7:59 am

We’ve already seen the spectre of that in 2020 with frequent negative prices, driven by wind subsidies.

Tom Abbott
February 12, 2023 3:59 am

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-12.48,42.31,304/loc=4.711,51.453

It shows a high-pressure system (center marked) over the UK and Europe. It’s keeping that cold arctic air away.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:53 am

High winds cause wind turbines to shut down.
Weather fronts on the other hand tend to be continent wide.

Nick only knows what his pay masters want him to know.

February 12, 2023 7:38 am

Wrong. There is a high degree of correlation across most of Europe.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6yqhP/1/

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:22 am

An interesting plot. But even that daily only has correlation with Fr/De of about 0.6, which still leaves plenty of scope for export. And what counts is correlation on a five minute scale, which will be far less.

February 12, 2023 10:43 am

No, lack of correlation on a five minute scale is utterly irrelevant when you are trying to keep the grid supplied. You will use local means to ensure that the local grid is not subject to too much flicker. What matters is whether your backup generation is being pushed into action all at once across most of Europe for a period of hours to days to even weeks (do you have enough dispatchable capacity? Recent answers for Duke, TVA and ERCOT among others have been no, with GB on the borders of no), or whether your storage or “export” market is being overwhelmed by surpluses.

February 12, 2023 11:49 am
Bryan A
February 12, 2023 12:08 am

Excess can only be exported at a profit when adjacent Importing areas NEED it. If not then the excess must be sold for -\$\$\$. (at a loss…paying the adjacent country to take the power) which can be costly to the consumers in the place of origin

February 12, 2023 4:37 am

Excess can only be exported if there is a means to do so. Often in parts of Scotland there is excess wind generated power but no means of getting it to other places, like England, which need it.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 6:58 am

The cost of the Beauly-Denny link to get wind generated electricity from Northern Scotland to the grid in Central Scotland cost in excess of £600 million and was completed in 2015, after much opposition from communities along the route
So another would cost in excess of £1 billion not something to be undertaken lightly

Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 8:56 am

National Grid is already telling new unreliable projects that it could take up to 15 years to connect them to the grid.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:24 am

We’ve built a huge grid in the past. We can still do it.

February 12, 2023 10:49 am

Do you have any kind of economic sense?

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 2:29 pm

“What you mean we, Whiteman?” And why do it if there is no real need?

Nick, please don’t try to bullshit me; your ill-informed opinions are tiresome. I’ve a degree in electrical engineering and extensive practical experience gained from a career in electric power planning, finance, design, construction and operation and maintenance of generation, transmission and distribution systems. I’ve participated in development and/or operation of hydroelectric, geothermal, nuclear, wind, coal, oil and natural gas generation sources all the way up from engineer to CEO/GM of an electric power utility.

Absent hard engineering and economic information, your speculations mean nothing, Nick. You seem to be a CliSciFi provocateur spewing spin and disinformation. Show us your hard numbers on Nut Zero.

Bryan A
February 12, 2023 10:25 pm

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:24 am
We’ve built a huge grid in the past. We can still do it.

That Huge Grid was built over the course of over 80 years…in a piecemeal fashion. The expediency in which It is claimed we need to get to Nut Zero, that “Little bit here, Little bit there fashion which allows for an affordable expansion will not be able to happen. An immediate expansive build out of Transmission capacity will be required to meet Nut Zero requirements

michel
February 12, 2023 12:19 am

“Other kinds of generation”

Take a look at what other kinds of generation are being used in the UK. We can look at the state of play right now.

Nuclear is generating about 14% of demand. 3.59GW. That is usually around 10%. Its higher as a percentage now because demand at this time of day on a weekend is low and nuclear output doesn’t vary a lot. But whatever, its carbon free, so there is no point trying to replace this with wind.

Coal is negligible, at the moment 2% or 0.47GW, also usually a lower percentage.

Biomass is 8%, just under 2GW. This is supposed to be green too, so what’s the point of trying to replace this with wind?

The big one at the moment is imports, 18%, or 4.6GW.

Could you, would you, replace any or all of these with wind? You have to make the case, and explain how you would deal with wind intermittency if you did. The more wind you put in, the less reliable supply you have, the more gas plant you need. And the more frequency regulation. And the more transmission.

Wind right now, by the way, is supplying 3.14GW from the grand total of 28GW installed. Who knows how long or how deep this calm will go on? Or when there will be another one?

There is a reason why there’s no working example anywhere in the world of a country running its grid on wind and solar. Its because it cannot be done. Its not even physics, its just accepting that the weather is what it is, and doing the simple arithmetic in accordance with it.

And finally, even was the UK to do it, it would have minimal effects on their own carbon emissions. Look up what percentage of UK emissions is due to power generation.

And it would have no effect at all on global emissions.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 1:09 am

Could you, would you, replace any or all of these with wind?”

Obviously, UK wouldn’t import if wind was available. So there is a big replacement right there. But you’d even get negative imports with wind.

The talk here is of cost, not emissions. Obviously replacing biomass saves on cost. It’s probably better for emissions too.

Wind could displace nuclear. Big and costly nuke replacements are coming up. If wind means they can be postponed, that is a saving. And they probably won’t turn up in time anyway.

michel
February 12, 2023 5:15 am

“Obviously, UK wouldn’t import if wind was available. So there is a big replacement right there.”

No, you cannot replace much if any of the imports by installing more turgines. The reason for the imports in the first place is the lack of UK wind!

There will still be the same calms and still be the same or similar falls in generation, no matter how much wind you install, and the diminishing returns factor will keep operating.

Your extra wind power will still not generate when there is no wind any more than the present parc does.

So, double or triple the amount of UK wind turbines, and you will make at best a small reduction in the amount of imports.

Also, you claim elsewhere that strong winds tend to happen in one place in Europe when other places are calm. This is also wrong in the sense its irrelevant. The question is, when you have the regular blocking highs, whether wind generation holds up in one part of Europe when it has died in another.

What you have to show is not what your map may show, high winds in one part of Europe and low winds in another. What you have to show is that there is never or very seldom an occasion when there is a Europe wide generating drought.

You’d have to do a proper study of actual wind generation in Europe, similar to what the author has done for the UK, then match to the UK. You can’t just assume and generalize in a matter of such huge public policy importance.

I have not done the detailed work to be sure of this, but my impression from observing weather as reported is that, like last summer, when the blocking highs occur they are Europe-wide. Anyone saying different needs to make the case and quantify it.

stevekj
February 12, 2023 9:39 am

“Could you, would you, replace any or all of these with wind?”

I would not, could not, in a tree
Not with wind power, let me be!
I do not like them on the shore
I do not like them evermore
I do not like them out at sea
I do not like them mightily
I do not like them here or there
I do not like them anywhere!
I do not like them, Sam I am
I do not like green wind and scam!

🙂 🙂 🙂

1saveenergy
February 12, 2023 1:34 am

“I’ll keep looking into the figures.”

Nick, stop looking into the figures … try understanding them for a change !!

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:16 am

Exactly. It is all artStudent™ hand wavey thinking with Nick. Raising of specious points to attempt to win arguments, whereas the reality is writ large in every UK electricity consumers bill.

Bills have quadrupled in 20 years, with no real decrease in emissions.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 11:18 am

Exactly. It is all artStudent™ hand wavey thinking with Nick”

You may have noticed that wind turbines are being built all over. Not funded by artStudents.

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 2:41 pm

Funded by ratepayer and taxpayer monies extracted through CliSciFi lies, venal politicians, ideologically driven NGOs, Deep State Leftist government bureaucrats, and media fear-mongering cheerleading. Hell, even U.S. National Climate Assessments and UN IPCC Assessment Reports can show no long-term degradation of any climate metric. The slight warming and wetting of the climate and CO2 fertilization of Earth’s flora have been a boon to Mankind.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:01 am

What else are you going to switch off in the UK except gas? Nuclear?? That won’t net you any emissions gains. Coal? What coal? Hydro? No emissions gains there either.

Once again your appalling ignorance of the real world is on display for all to see.

And your point about demand growth simply displays a complete lack of understanding about what is being examined here. The figures work exactly the same when expressed as a percentage, as when expressed as an actual capacity versus actual demand.

The short version is that as the amount of wind power increases, the amount of gas backup capacity remains constant at around 60% of peak demand, given some nuclear and hydro.

Only when you have 100:1 oversupply of wind, can you get rid of your gas, so that 99% of all the installed wind is not producing anything on average all the time, It is switched off waiting for a calm cold day.

The point made by Gail Tverberg some years back holds.

Would a society running on wind power at £10 a unit instead of 10p a unit be able to afford to build or install any replacement windmills once the ones built with fossil fuel wore out?

And the answer of course is no.

Wind power is simply not sustainable.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 3:26 am

That won’t net you any emissions gains. “

The arithmetic here is all about cost, not emissions.

The figures work exactly the same when expressed as a percentage, as when expressed as an actual capacity versus actual demand.”

No, they don’t. You can see it in fig 2. The author has tried to force the extra wind into the existing demand profile. He says that there is only so much gas that can be displaced, and therefore half of the extra wind power must go to waste. Not true if demand increases, nor if exports can increase, nor if bio etc can be cut back.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:59 am

The arithmetic here is all about cost, not emissions.

And thus we get to the core of the issue, Nick doesn’t care how much you have to pay, so long as he gets to feel good about himself.

The really sad thing is that wind and solar don’t actually reduce the amount of emissions being generated, because those fossil fuel plants have to be kept in warm standby waiting for wind and solar to fail.

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 2:46 pm

“If” in one hand, Nick, and piss in the other. Which fills first?

The real world works on engineering and economics, not “ifs.” As I stated above, you don’t know what you are talking about, Nick.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 7:16 pm

In the real world, they are building wind generation as fast as they can.

Dave Fair
February 13, 2023 12:54 am

That’s a complete non sequitur, Nick. With fantastically lucrative direct government subsidies, guaranteed above-market pricing, must-take provisions, mandated percentages of installed generating capacities, free integrating transmission facilities, free intermittency backup, free system stability services & etc. for wind installations what the hell do you expect the crony capitalist profiteers to do? Too bad Western high-cost turbine manufacturers can’t compete with manufacturers in FF driven economies in this goldrush bonanza. Siemens is left begging for government handouts.

The entire subsidized renewable system of energy development will collapse over time because the Leftist ideologues ignore engineering and economics. What cannot continue won’t. The insane Western governments’ rush to Nut Zero will crash energy delivery systems, impoverish generations of people and, in the extreme, lead to massive social unrest in an existing environment of peoples’ mistrust of their ruling elites.

Nick, you seem to be blind to the evidence of the beginning of the end. That’s the same as Brandon being oblivious to the coming end of OPM after his current inflationary spending spree runs out. Have loads of fun like they did in the Roaring 20s preceding the Great Depression; they didn’t see it coming either.

Centralized government industrial planning has never worked. Mix in Leftist ideology with government bumbling the resulting plans and implementation schemes are insanity on steroids.

February 13, 2023 4:10 am

No they aren’t. European wind manufacturers have not been securing orders and are suffering massive losses. Even orders of Chinese made turbines are down.

Nick Stokes
February 13, 2023 1:04 pm

Here is the chart of actual power generated. Looks like exponential increase everywhere

February 14, 2023 6:22 am

That is production up to 2021, which means investment beforehand. It has nothing to do with current investment.

February 12, 2023 7:51 am

Forget profitable exports. Here’s a scatter plot of German wind and solar output against day ahead price in 2020 when prices were not influenced by the current shortages of gas and nuclear. When there are surpluses the prices go to zero or negative. This is before we add in lots more build out of renewables around Europe. Prices across mainland Europe are mostly in close alignment.

PCman999
February 12, 2023 8:33 am

Only gas and follow the intermittantcy of wind, and some has to be available all the time just in case, like a UPS. The other sources like coal, nuclear and hydro are kept around in this thought-experiment as further baseload power that can be depended upon, unlike wind.

Nick Stokes
February 11, 2023 10:50 pm

Another crib is that the CCGT fuel saving is calculated at \$USD 5 per MMbtu, which is said to the the average for the last 20 years. But we’re talking about the future. Current price is at a low point for the year of about \$16. It has been over \$60 during the year. Fuel saved certainly outweighs extra O&M for the wind. And of course it is an exaggeration to say there would be no saving at all on O&M for the reduced gas generation.

observa
February 12, 2023 3:46 am

Wind output for the Oz NEM grid for Februray showing a max output of 6305MW and a minimum less than one eleventh at 556MW-
Wind Energy in Australia | February 2023 | Aneroid
Currently at 10pm in South Australia we have a fuel mix for the NEM grid with wind at 3498MW (15%) black coal 13GW (56%) brown coal 3183MW (14%) and gas 1504MW (6%)-
AEMO | NEM data dashboard
So fossil fuels are running at 76% as usual with no sunshine and you’ll often see that higher as you can tell from those dips down to a low 556MW. And the climate changers reckon they’re going to smooth out that night time wind with batteries and get rid of fossil fuels altogether and have everyone charging up their EVs at night to boot? We’re rational adults here not children Nick.

Last edited 1 month ago by observa
SteveG
February 13, 2023 3:00 am

Batteries – lol! — I’ve heard of a big mutha of a battery somewhere, I think in the Hunter Valley?or somewhere nth of Sydney NSW, that the renewable zealots reckon can power 250,000 homes………………………………….for 1 hour…

SteveG
February 12, 2023 3:55 am

“But we’re talking about the future”.  —You mean like “climate models”? — lol!

February 12, 2023 8:25 am

Net zero grid models are much worse.

observa
February 12, 2023 4:29 am

Oh and plenty of geographic diversity for solar and wind across the interconnected NEM grid consisting of South Australia Victoria Tasmania New South Wales and Queensland-
europe_vs_australia.jpg (1000×703) (done.gr)

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:00 am

Nick and his allies do everything in their power to make fossil fuels expensive, then they use the high energy costs as a justification to force more wind and solar down everyone’s throats.
That’s pure evil.

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 3:17 pm

But higher FF costs drive up the costs of unreliables. See below.

February 12, 2023 8:51 am

Let’s look at the future price then. NBP gas for 2029 closed at about 67p/therm on Friday. That’s \$8/MMBtu.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 11:13 am

Well, \$8 is not the \$5 assumed here.

But looking here, all I see are contracts at about 135 p/therm for near term, getting more expensive on a two year horizon. That is about 3x the \$5 used in this calc.

February 12, 2023 12:26 pm

Make your mind up. You were the one talking about the future. The wind installation is not going to double by 2029.

February 12, 2023 3:00 pm

What you are seeing is the seasonality of prices, allied to need for LNG import over the winter, but not in summer to meet UK demand. They aren’t getting more expensive over the next 2 years. April 23 is quoted at 135.810p/therm, and April 25 at 134.060p/therm. After that year on year prices fall.

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 3:13 pm

What will the cost be to replace existing and future short-lived wind installations given normal (much less anticipated accelerated) price inflation, especially considering looming materials shortages associated with future unreliables manufacturing? Siemens wind turbine business is failing because of increasing materials costs and supply chain issues, coupled with price competition from low-cost, FF-using suppliers. More subsidies for crony capitalist profiteers? [None may call it Fascism.]

Since wind and solar installations cannot be made, delivered nor constructed without FF inputs, what does government-forced shortages and price increases for FFs bode for the costs of wind going forward? Please read Vaclav Smil’s “How the World Really Works” before opining on issues beyond your keen. It is required reading for a fully-informed modern man.

Scarecrow Repair
February 11, 2023 11:24 pm

I must be missing something.

the UK derived: 24% of its electric energy from wind generation, 43% from gas turbine generation and 33% from other sources such as coal, nuclear, hydro and biomass.

Where is solar? I thought at first “wind” was a catch-all including solar, but then there is this:

The UK currently has 28 GW wind power capacity, 14 GW of onshore and 14 GW of offshore

which is definitely not solar.

I don’t have any fault with the analysis itself.

Iain Reid
February 11, 2023 11:55 pm

Scarecrow,

solar is relatively minor despite the installed caopacity, real generation being about 10 to 11% of capacity.

michel
February 12, 2023 12:29 am

Problem is, three months of the year there is just about no solar. And of course, when there is solar, its sharply peaked by time of day. Simplest chart of it is here:

http://www.gridwatch.co.uk/solar

Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 9:38 am

Yep, at 5.30pm solar has supplied all of 0.07GW or 0.02% today

https://grid.iamkate.com

Nick Stokes
February 11, 2023 11:58 pm

Solar is presumably included in other, though it doesn’t say so. It was about 4% of total in 2020, no doubt higher now.

Peta of Newark
February 12, 2023 12:12 am

On odd coincidence, Google tells that UK (also) has 14GW of solar installed, provisionally, by end of 2022
We’re further told that it produced 3.9% of all UK electricity in 2018. sigh

The best that solar can do in the UK is 10% of its nameplate so yields 12,260 GWh per year

The missing bit is that a lot of generation from wind and solar is un-metered.
Yes it is metered at the local level but those numbers don’t go into national statistics and the electricity produced appears in the stats as a demand reduction

For solar there is a figure, it says that 23% of solar installs are less than 10kW nameplate and it is they doing the demand reduction
Ball-park figure says 2,820GWh of demand reduction was achieved by people with panels on their roofs

Similar applies to windmills, a lot of small windmills (less than 50kW nameplate) are out there in farmers’ fields, churning away and reducing demand.
Where to start?
The little renewable energy forum I used (gone for 3 years now) to visit generally reckoned that 50% of UK onshore wind did actually come from those small turbines.

I doubt it now. so a figure like the solar (25%) might be a better guess

Starting at 14GW nameplate of UK onshore wind, I get the farmers (20% capacity factor) to be producing 6,130GWh per year = that appearing in the stats as a demand reduction..

Tere is one of those small turbines at the bottom of my garden (about a mile away but clearly visible) and it does the strangest things.
Especially that although it always tracks (faces into) the wind, about 33% of the time it doesn’t spin, even when the wind is quite strong.
Even wind turbines have Body Language – presumably reflecting that its owner/operator

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 12:35 am

There’s a lot of domestic rooftop solar PV across the UK. Assuming that a high proportion of those dwellings are empty for 10 hours for 5 days, I know government workers are homeworkers, then the electricity generated is either stored in a battery or as hot water or sold to the grid. I often see/hear the surplus is sold.
Does that come as metered or unmetered? I’ve often wondered but never investigated

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:19 am

Unmetered. in fact no solar power in the UK is centrally metered. The Grid relies on domestic meters going backwards or somesuch to calculate feed in tarriffs and the like. Naturally households generate the most surplus when demand is lowest.

February 12, 2023 8:58 am

There are fairly good estimates of solar including from domestic rooftops from Sheffield University (used by Leo’s Gridwatch). Some think they may be a little high, but they’re in the ballpark. The government does produce its own estimates eventually, but not at a high time granularity, and like all government statistics, it’s difficult to disentangle what they really cover. They get confused by own use.

BM reports data doesn’t typically include solar at all.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 12:15 am

Solar just makes things worse, so no need to complicate things further. 8am Zero from solar so far today. Looking at France and UK on Gridwatch between us we’re generating 6GW from wind and 1.3GW from solar.
Germany is relying on Fossil Fuels this morning too, and forecasting about 10GW peak solar later today.
Fortunately, or possibly not, for grids across Europe it’s a Sunday lowest demand day of the week

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 3:25 pm

Ben, you’ve solved our electric supply problem: All governments need do is pass laws declaring every day be Sunday. Makes as much sense as laws mandating Nut Zero.

RickWill
February 11, 2023 11:36 pm

the UK derived: 24% of its electric energy from wind generation, 43% from gas turbine generation and 33% from other sources such as coal,

I understand UK is exporting wind and importing dispatchable electricity. This is not covered in the percentages you provided.

How much would the proportions change if UK was unable to use other countries as storage batteries of infinite capacity but limited by the capacity of the transmission network.?

Iain Reid
February 11, 2023 11:54 pm

Rick,

if we have a lot of wind generation, so will out neighbours in probability so the scope for exporting is not as much as it may seem?
How can we use them as batteries?

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 12:04 am

The arithmetic here assumed excess will simply be lost. But even if there is wind power generated elsewhere, it will still have some sale value. The assumption here is that extra wind would be half wasted, because it is artificially allowed only to displace UK gas, and to a limited extent. But of course it can displace not only other UK sources, but also sources elsewhere in Europe, via export. It can also reduce power imports.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:30 am

Once again Nick refuses to accept the reality that there is no giant battery somewhere lese that can absorbe outflos, and wind patterns anre larget than te ability of the grids to transport power.

He is also entirely ignorant of the relationship between capacity factor and cost.

One of the reasons so much UK wind is currently thrown away, even when power is short, is because the cost of paying windmills to shut down is less than the cost of building new grid connections to take it from Scotland to the rest of the UK where it is needed, on the few occasions it is actually available.
.
Geographically diverse generation is massively cost innefficient.
That was why Battersea (coal) power station was built in the heart of London.

I don’t know what Nick’s agenda is: anyone with a modicum of imtelligence has realised the renewable energy is total pants. And that if you want to lower emissions the only solution is in fact nuclear power.

Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 9:44 am

The UK Grid is already telling new unreliable generation that it could take up to 15 years to get them connected to the grid.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:04 am

Nick knows as little of economics as he does of physics.
He assumes that if you have something to sell, that there will be a buyer.

RickWill
February 12, 2023 2:05 pm

Iain,

How can we use them as batteries?

Interconnectors can behave like batteries for a network. If you take a single region of the network, it can export excess W&S when generation is high and import from other power sources when generation is low.

If the proportions of generation are based on the averaged energy over a year and time averaged demand over a year then that gives a different picture to say the hour by hour. Wind energy that would be curtailed if not exported should not be offset against imported energy for deriving proportions.

As an example, South Australia is getting over 60% of its average energy from W&S but it uses Victoria as a 650MW battery of infinite capacity that absorbs up to 650MW of W&S when generation is high and can supply up to 650MW when W&S generation is low so they do not need to burn gas. The SA grid has average demand around 1300MW so the 650MW battery equivalent of Victoria is a huge factor in their achieving the high proportion of W&S.

Dave Fair
February 12, 2023 3:42 pm

There is no way that, over time, one can avoid high energy prices when one needs to import and low-to-negative prices when one needs to export. Actual operations are much more complex than that but the overall economics work that way. As reserve margins continue to shrink, this will become more and more obvious to people.

Firm contracts for power delivery always earn more than as-available economy-energy deliveries. No rational utility builds new generation for economy-energy exports. Then again, rational energy markets flew the coop decades ago. Observe Germany’s experiences with excess generation impacting their system’s operation and economics and adversely impacting neighbors’ systems.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 12:27 am

Looking at the UK and French grids on Gridwatch it looks like the UK is importing from Germany with France as the middle man. Germany is relying on coal and gas

February 12, 2023 9:24 am

I can be useful to look at this site to understand the European flows a bit better:

Electricity Maps | Live 24/7 CO₂ emissions of electricity consumption

Zoom in to see interconnector flows between countries or price areas. Click on a country to see its power sources, including interconnector trade. Look at the histroy (but without the interconnector detail). January 15th is an example of widespread high winds across most of Europe.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:24 am

The whole picture is complicated. The links to European neighbours are fully exercised. Import and export.

Norway with cheap gas and massive hydro acts as a battery for the UK. When we have suplus wind they take it and switch off the dams.

France has massive nuclear, although it’s wearing out. Sometimes we are sending them 10% of their demand other times its reversed, often within hours.

We dont deal directly with Germany, but Belgian and Dutrch links proxy for them, and again flows are large and bi directional.

Managing it is an almighty mess really.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:33 am

Norway with cheap gas and massive hydro acts as a battery for the UK. When we have surplus wind they take it and switch off the dams.”

But you were claiming above that UK would never be able to sell its surpluses.

February 12, 2023 3:06 pm

Norway has announced it will not add further interconnectors, particularly to the UK and Germany (they have resulted in high prices in Norway, as well as threatening to empty their reservoirs because of the general shortage of dispatchable capacity in Europe). So we would not be able to sell extra volumes to them.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 7:08 pm

Norway has not announced that. In fact, just a few days ago, they announced that there were resuming consideration of the NorthConnect 1400 MW interconnector to Scotland. And just over a year ago, the 1400 MW North Sea link was opened.

February 12, 2023 8:20 pm

It looks as though they are motivated to issue a formal rejection.

OSLO, Feb 6 (Reuters) – Norway’s energy ministry said on Monday it will resume processing of an application to build a subsea power interconnector between Norway and Britain known as NorthConnect, without indicating whether it would be approved or rejected.
The ministry’s processing of the plan was temporarily put on hold in 2020 in anticipation of more information on how foreign interconnectors would impact Norwegian power prices.
Most Norwegian political parties have said NorthConnect should be permanently shelved.

https://www.energylivenews.com/2023/01/31/norway-will-reduce-power-exports-to-britain-if-supplies-are-at-risk/

February 12, 2023 9:10 am

In 2022 the UK has mainly been using interconnectors to solve some of their grid constraints. It has not really been exporting wind: there has almost always been dispatchable capacity behind the exports.

February 12, 2023 12:29 pm

Higher resolution version

RickWill
February 12, 2023 1:48 pm

It appears that in March last year there was always more headroom for wind. I will have a look at the link for other periods.

But for March, wind and solar were always below the UK demand so export in march did not increase the wind proportion by exporting.

Australia produces a chart for voluntary curtailment of wind. This occurs when the price goes more negative than the user pays, government enforced subsidy to grid scale wind and solar.

February 12, 2023 7:24 pm

In the early part of the year the UK was an importer with limited exports to France (and in small volume overnight sometimes elsewhere, usually to meet the Continental morning rush in exchange for switching back for the UK one because of the 1 hour time difference). In order to supply the exports to France, imports from Belgium (NEMO) and the Netherlands (BritNed) helped to overcome the grid constraints in the South – effectively the UK was a route through, adding transmission not available on the Continent. Peaker generation (pumped hydro, OCGT…) helped meet demand. In the spring the UK became a consistent exporter. That was driven by gas, with pipeline gas exports also maximised, and extra LNG landed to feed the export and the generation. The Continent lacked the capacity to land the LNG itself, so the UK was used as an offshore LNG terminal, with some of the export being as electricity, reducing the need for more CCGT to be run on the Continent, thus saving their need for gas imports.

Wind rarely was in major surplus, although there were times when grid congestion forced 2-3GW of curtailment in Scotland. Overall curtailment was 3.9TWh. A clue is from the day ahead prices, which rarely dip towards £50/MWh. In December we see the opposite – cold, still weather leading to shortage pricing across Europe, with little spare export capacity from the UK to meet French shortfalls.

strativarius
February 12, 2023 12:01 am

Aaarrrggghhh

I needed that

Rod Evans
February 12, 2023 12:46 am

Aa I look out of my window here in the West of Central England today, 12 Feb 2023 0800 hrs the wind is zero. Not a flicker of movement anywhere. Even the Pampas Grass stands with white heads, motionless.
Now the western central region of the UK, does not represent all areas, so presumably the current 3,1 GW of wind power showing on the Grid Watch site, suggests wind is blowing somewhere.
The issue for wind power is now clearly showing up. We have upwards of 28GW installed in the UK, It is the middle of winter and we are only producing just over 3GW today?

No system can be supported economically, if one of the major inputs varies from from 100% available to zero in an unknown pattern.
The upshot of such unreliability is, reliable and affordable backup must be provided.
We have allowed the ignorant /the wishful thinkers, to convince serious decision makers, that having essential electricity supply based on unreliable inputs, is a good idea?
They have persuaded governments’, unreliability, should be supported by state payments? Those payment are needed to make the unreliable energy option operationally affordable.

The persuasion used was the need to save the planet. All evidence shows the planet is doing particularly well this past fifty years, thanks to modern technologies and developed energy already installed.
The jury is still out on what the next fifty years will be like, particularly on the energy front. Whatever that turns out to be, all the evidence of observations tells us, the planet will be just fine.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rod Evans
strativarius
February 12, 2023 12:59 am

Not a breath of wind in the south, either

1saveenergy
February 12, 2023 2:13 am

Not much in Anglesey, 2 mph gusting to 5mph !!
Local Wind farms having a Sunday morning lie in, a few big turbines are using grid power to rotate (to stop bearings being damaged by static load ) .
Sun is out & my 4 kW rooftop solar is giving a colossal 0.447 kW !!!

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:07 am

They also have to keep the oil warm, so they run heaters for that.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 1:35 am

Now the western central region of the UK, does not represent all areas, so presumably the current 3,1 GW of wind power showing on the Grid Watch site, suggests wind is blowing somewhere.”

Indeed so. And it will be blowing elsewhere in Europe. In fact, here is the current background:

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:33 am

Nick carefully shows a map that is in fact NOT of Europe, but of Britain and Scandinvia, and does not contain facts, merely artistic swooshing lines.

And does not take into account the cube law of windspeed versus generation output.

Here is a larger scale map with Real Numbers on it

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 3:48 am

Real Numbers “
Pressures, not wind velocity

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 1:48 pm

How close the isobars are together indicates wind speeds, close together high winds further apart low wind speeds.

SteveG
February 12, 2023 3:58 am

What’s old mate nicky doing? thats a finger painting my 3 yo son did a year ago..

Last edited 1 month ago by SteveG
1saveenergy
February 12, 2023 4:37 am

Nick, obviously you are not conversant with charts or data.
The area of high pressure (1032) affecting UK, covers most of Europe, from Ireland to Turkey & South Scandinavia to North Africa. Average wind speed in that area is currently 6mph .

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:09 am

Isn’t the faith of the simple minded a wonderful thing.
Nick assumes that the wind is always blowing somewhere.
Not only that, but that the wind that is blowing is neither to weak nor too strong, and that there is a way to get the power sent from where it is generated to where it is needed.

February 12, 2023 10:01 am

There isn’t much wind anywhere there are wind farms.

Ireland 1.34GW
N Ireland 0.235GW
GB 4.02GW
Portugal 1.54GW
Spain 5.3GW
France 1.7GW
Belgium 0GW
Netherlands 0.012GW
Germany 4.71GW
Denmark 3.118GW
Poland 1.9GW
Lithuania 0.393GW
Latvia 0.073GW
Estonia 0.154GW
Finland 4.62GW
Sweden 9.52GW
Norway 2.674GW
Czechia 0.011GW
Austria 0.748GW
Switzerland 0GW
Slovakia 0GW
Hungary 0.098GW
Slovenia 0.001GW
Croatia 0.663GW
Bosnia 0.056GW
Serbia 0.057GW
Romania 1.93GW
Bulgaria 0.393GW
Greece 0.381GW
Italy 5.1GW

Total 50.747GW

You can’t run Europe off windfarms in Scandianvia.

Dave Andrews
February 12, 2023 9:51 am

Back in the 1970s/80s the UK Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) wouldn’t look twice at wind power citing its variability.

Steve Richards
February 12, 2023 12:47 am

The wind installations will be significantly more expensive towards the end of the roll out. The above increase in costs will impact greatly on steel, concrete etc.

Editor
February 12, 2023 1:12 am

Not included in that cost estimate is the cost of curtailment and other subsidies. The operator is PAID to shut down when there is more power produced than there is demand. Currently, that cost is near £200/MWh for some offshore wind farms.
31,000 GWh curtailment times a conservative £100/MWh = £3,100,000,000 per annum. Note this is just NEW curtailment, from a doubling of wind power. This sum does not include curtailment payments currently made to the existing wind farms.
Also, this is ONLY one subsidy, and does not include ROC, CfD, etc,

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 1:44 am

The operator is PAID to shut down when there is more power produced than there is demand.”

No, the operator is compensated when there is more power produced than the grid can carry to buyers. The answer, of course, is to improve the grid.

The 31000 GWH imagined here is wildly exaggerated, and not related to grid congestion.

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:17 am

They aren’t being paid to shutdown, they are just being compensated for not producing power when it isn’t needed.

Sophistry at its best.

BTW, wind and solar are the only power generators who get this sweetheart deal.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 3:21 pm

BTW, wind and solar are the only power generators who get this sweetheart deal

Not true. Here is the grid explaining the system. Payments are made to any generator that is required to cut back because of grid inadequacy.

February 12, 2023 10:05 am

The idea that infinite grid expansion at very low utilisation makes economic sense is only one that you could concoct, especially when the value of surplus power is likely negative anyway.

February 12, 2023 12:41 pm

The way the system works is that the most costly, highly subsidised units get to carry on producing and garnering their subsidies despite the very low market prices: those on CFDs get subsidy up to the full value of their strike price. Those with lesser subsidies find it better to bid to curtail, which can be worth more than the subsidy plus the market price would be.

michel
February 12, 2023 1:17 am

This is showing diminishing returns from installing more intermittent generation plant.

A suggestion to make it still clearer: run the analysis with still more wind and see what the result is:

28GW 25% of demand
52GW 35%
80GW ?
108GW ?

I would expect 80GW to yield about 40%, and if one went to 108GW that the extra 28GW would only raise the percentage by a couple of points.

This is a much more valuable and persuasive analysis than the pieces by Christopher Monckton earlier on, because its ‘just the facts, its based solely on the real documented behaviour of real turbines in the real British weather environment.

It might need refinement of some details, but the main point is indisputable, you cannot and will not get there by adding more turbines, and there is some limit, probably well below 50% in the British weather environment, which you can approach at ever rising cost but never go beyond.

I don’t want to make work! But another interesting thing to do with the model would be adjust the weather as measured by the generation to make it less variable, and see what that does to the percentage. It will show that the real driver is local wind regularity..

MarkW
February 12, 2023 7:19 am

This is showing diminishing returns from installing more intermittent generation plant.

The best/cheapest sites are built out first.
﻿As wind fields grow larger, the less wind is available for down wind turbines.

February 12, 2023 1:45 pm

I’ve already run those kinds of analysis. This is how the surpluses grow as you add capacity

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/nZM72/1/
The total surplus is the area under each curve. To begin with it grows roughly quadratically as the size of surpluses increases and the number of hours of surplus increase in tandem. Asymptotically almost all the extra production produces at times when there is already a surplus, while doing very little to alleviate the hours of shortage, which means that the effective cost of marginal wind shoots up.

There is also the question of the variation of size of surpluses. If they are to be used, you have to provide capacity on the grid and interconnectors or in feeding into storage to do so. Clearly, it is not economic to attempt to use all the surplus. The chart looks at the capacity that can be used at different rates of use, and it is easy to see how challenging the economics become.

Dean S
February 12, 2023 1:23 am

Is the last sentence correct? Would battery backup be cheaper than gas as in the scenario you presented.

Leo Smith
February 12, 2023 2:38 am

No. It would not even be possible.

There is no electrochemical battery that could be made to cover the scenarios that gas does. Even at insane cost.

Batteries are installed for uber short term grid stabilisation. That is the reality – long term they simply do nothing, although ArtStudents™ think they do. Insofar as ArtStudents™ think at all….

Sapper2
February 12, 2023 2:33 am

I have yet to see how the costs of nuclear generation would fit in with further wind penetration, being a major future source of electricity in the future being actively developed and the more ‘greener’ and less destroying than wind. Already the current nuclear generator company is said to be disturbed at future penetration impacts on their costs. At some stage wind expansion will have to cease or drawback if ‘backup’ generation costs becomes unviable. Certainly the electricity customers would revolt with ever ascending costs that pay for wind curtailment as well.

February 12, 2023 11:23 am

The main effect of wind generation so far has been to drive out baseload generation from nuclear and coal via subsidised pricing, increasing the requirement for flex capacity from hydro and gas. Nuclear and wind do not play well together. For high nuclear penetration you need dispatchable power to help handle the demand variations. The French rely mainly on hydro, gas and interconnector balancing.

Frank from NoVA
February 12, 2023 5:16 am

This is a very nice piece of work by Bill Ponton. To our friend Nick, I would only suggest he glance again at Figure 1, which highlights the extreme variability of wind generation (top of the green area) vs. that of total load (top of the blue area).

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 4:59 pm

highlights the extreme variability of wind generation”

You could say it highlights the extreme variability of gas generation. What it really means is that they can work together.

I’m glad that Bill Ponton did go to the trouble of trying to quantify what others here arm-wave about. But there are three major flaws, mentioned above:

1. He imposed an artificial requirement that new wind power was limited to replacing gas, with no increase in demand, and so half would be wasted.
2. He used a way outdated price to estimate changes in gas fuel cost – \$5 per MMbtu, when it is currently running at three times that, and has been much higher.
3. No allowance for income from exports, or indeed allowance for cost of imports no longer unnecessary. None at all.
michel
February 13, 2023 12:11 am

As to [1] he is pretty much correct, you will not be able to replace imports because the imports are only happening because there’s a calm, and there will still be the same calm, and the country is never going to build out enough wind power to be able to replace the imports during these calms. In addition to replacing the gas.

I also don’t think you’re going to replace nuclear or biomass with wind. The grid has to have some reliable constant supply and spinning generation.

As to [2] its not at all clear that at peak wind periods there is any market for the exports. As Ben has pointed out, wind generation is pretty much in sync across Northern Europe.

This is also overlooking the fundamental problems with wind. The obvious one is that it fails to generate during calms. But the other one is that when you have enough generating capacity to meet usual peak demand enough of the time to have a viable grid, then you get peaks of generation which are way over what you can use.

Take the present case, for instance. 28GW of wind is doing just over 3GW of generation, and demand is 33GW. The wind picks up, demand is still 33GW, but now wind can generate 20GW.

Suppose you doubled the installed base. You now have 56GW of wind which delivers 6GW of generation. Demand is still 33GW. Now the wind picks up again, and you have 40GW of production, and it doesn’t matter what your grid is like, there is no demand for it all.

And no, you won’t sell it, everyone else is in the same boat.

The correct solution to all this, when appraising policy, is to treat the situation as the reverse of how its usually presented. The idea is not to replace conventional with wind and solar. The idea actually is to have a full conventional and nuclear grid, and supplement it with wind and solar to try to lower fuel costs.

So the case that has to be made is to run on coal and peaking gas, versus running on gas supplemented by wind. The problem with this is twofold. First you’re obliged to run the gas intermittently, which raises fuel consumption. Second, the need to accommodate wind and solar intermittency means you can’t go to the correct and cost effective solution, superheated coal. Because it can’t accommodate intermittency, only gas can do that.

February 13, 2023 4:32 am
1. He was looking at the implication of doubling wind generation at current levels of demand, in a bid to increase the proportion of demand met by wind. If you want to double demand and double wind generation there would be no increase in wind penetration, though you would be left with a conundrum on how to meet the rest of the supply..
2. I know net zero nuts prefer to use the instantaneous spike price from when when allegedly gas was 9 times more expensive than wind. Except in reality, TTF gas was 9 times more expensive than Henry Hub gas, and wind was getting far in excess of market average prices because of all its subsidies, so it was actually more expensive than gas. The use of unindexed 2012 bid prices on CFDs that are not being taken up is just an outright falsehood. We have already shown that your preferred numbers do not reflect the futures market for the timescale on which wind investment might be doubled. You are the one using inappropriate estimates.
3. The UK can’t export the extra at the moment. It has zero real value, and has to be curtailed. Its exports have been supplied by extra CCGT generation when Continental bid prices are high enough. Move forward to more wind generation across Europe, and those extra exports will have zero or negative value. We already saw that in 2020 when demand was low. There is no reason to credit exports with a positive value, especially without costing in the grid and interconnector investment required to make them. Consumers are going to get very angry if they discover they are being asked to subsidise exports at negative prices.
February 13, 2023 4:47 am

For reference, here is a chart of the acutal prices achieved by wind generation in the UK

Nick Stokes
February 13, 2023 12:57 pm

Interesting chart – could you explain a bit more. Those look like very high prices indeed being paid in the market for wind power.

michel
February 13, 2023 11:42 pm

Look up how the UK Contracts for Difference regime works, and why recently commissioned wind farms are refusing to sign theirs.

Nick Stokes
February 14, 2023 12:37 pm

The reason seems clear enough. CfDs give price support, but you have to pay back if the price exceeds the base level. It seems that the prices wind are fetching makes a CfD a bad deal. So how does this reflect badly on wind as an investment?

February 14, 2023 6:37 am

The data for wind farms on CFDs is provided by the Low Carbon Contracts Company, who provide for each wind farm the daily generation, the amount of CFD payment to the penny, the weighted average day ahead market reference price, and the applicable strike price. These are appropriately summed to provide the averages.

The data for wind farms on ROCs comes from government statistics detailing generation monthly split by technology and the number of ROCs per MWh band, showing total ROCs awarded as well as the generation. Per ROC values are as published by OFGEM, including the final recycle value.

In this way revenues are production weighted to give the overall average for the categories and the total.

galileo62
February 12, 2023 5:24 am

This newspaper article backs up what Bill is saying in his first paragraph. It would appear that wind generation looks cheap when gas prices are high, could this be why governments aren’t allowing fracking, to keep the cost of gas high and for fulfil it’s Net Zero obligations? I’ve kept this article for future reference just to see in say 10years time there will be the same savings with the inevitable increase in Wind generation.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:48 am

could this be why governments aren’t allowing fracking, to keep the cost of gas high”

No. The UK is thorough linked in to the world market. Its customers will pay the world price. UK fracking is never going to yield enough to significantly affect the world price.

February 12, 2023 12:49 pm

Wrong. There is no world market price for gas. There are regional markets with highly disparate prices. When the UK had a modest export surplus (via pipeline), it had some of the lowest domestic prices anywhere – including Henry Hub. Every extra cubic metre backs out imports from the most costly long haul source. Back out that source, and the imports are all cheaper as they price off the marginal import source. If the UK got back to demand being met by pipeline gas from the UK and Norway, domestic prices would be detached from LNG imports entirely. As it is, for much of the year that is the case anyway, since demand is highly seasonal.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 3:13 pm

When the UK had a modest export surplus”

there was little maritime trade in LNG. Now it is huge, and the UK is thoroughly plugged in. And in that world, gas goes to the highest bidder.

In Australia, we produce about three times more gas than we consume. That doesn’t help the locals. We pay close to the world price.

February 12, 2023 7:50 pm

No. Gas is expensive to transport, so logistics matter, and keep prices divergent. You have your own problems of your own making that we have dissected before. In fact, whhy is it always Groundhog day with you? There are many points I have explained to you previously that you have failed to take on board throughout this thread. Do you ever learn anything?

The UK was the pioneer in LNG trade. The first cargoes were imported to Canvey Island in the 1960s, before North Sea gas really got going.

Why was Henry Hub gas nine times cheaper than TTF if all the gas goes to the highest bidder? The answer is it doesn’t. Why was the UK able to land gas 30% cheaper than TTF during the summer? The answer is pipeline capacity constraints.

https://timera-energy.com/gb-power-prices-continue-discount-to-nw-europe/

galileo62
February 12, 2023 4:18 pm

According to data compiled by BOXT why is the UK customer paying the highest price for energy in the world Nick?

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 5:07 pm

I presume you mean electricity. As far as price of gas is concerned, UK traded is pretty much world price, which is why NBP is used as a global indicator.

February 12, 2023 8:06 pm

Neither NBP nor TTF have much currency as a global indicator in current markets, because you have to make substantial and varying adjustments for logistic costs. LNG tanker rates have been highly volatile, driven by shortages when tankers were forced to become floating storage because of inadequate port discharge capacity, and gluts when they earn a release. TTF is a landlocked marker, showing large premia to LNG delivered prices during shortage periods, making it an unreliable hedge. NBP became a purely UK price last year as export capacity was full, so there was no linkage to TTF.

In fact, no price marker has more than local regional significance. There are too many variables. Only around an eighth of gas is traded as LNG. With crude oil, it’s two thirds that is traded.

michel
February 13, 2023 12:12 am

Paul Homewood estimated that renewable subsidies of all sorts added up amount to in the region of 400 sterling per household. A lot of that is on the electricity bill.

wilpost
February 12, 2023 5:30 am

In the interest of clarity for lay people, and to refute lies by nutty-zero wackos, who never analyzed, designed, or operated any energy system, stacked graphs should not be used.

There should be individual graphs for each major source, such as heavily subsidized wind, heavily subsidized solar, nat gas, coal, nuclear, etc.

That would clearly show increased gas generation to counteract decreased wind generation, on a minute by minute basis.

It would show the total ABSENCE of solar from 4 PM to about 9 AM THE NEXT DAY, in winter.

wilpost
February 12, 2023 7:11 am

WIND AND SOLAR ARE MOLLY-CODDLED UP TO THEIR ARMPITS
.
Grossly Excessive Financial Incentives
About 45 to 50% of the “wind, all-in LCOE” (levelized cost of energy) of wind turbine projects consists of various financial in incentives. I have the 20-y spreadsheets.
.
If no financial incentives were available, Owners would have to sell their electricity at almost 2 times the price, c/kWh, they now receive, which would be very bad PR for wind.
.
THE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES ARE THE REASON MANY \$BILLIONS OF \$DOLLARS ARE MADE AVAILABLE BY RICH PEOPLE WHO ARE PROFITING FROM LUCRATIVE TAX-SHELTERS, SUCH AS WARREN BUFFETT, WHILE LEGALLY SCREWING ALL OTHERS, ALL IN THE NAME OF SLOGAN “SAVING THE PLANET”
.
Wind Output is Variable Almost 100% of the Time
I looked at the hour-to-hour wind output in New England (ISO-NE website) for an entire year, 8766 hours. I was bleary eyed.
I found there ALWAYS was some wind output. It was NEVER zero.
Wind output is variable almost 100% of the time
.
Counteracting Variable Wind Output
What makes wind a grid disturber, or very expensive, or very uneconomical (take your pick) is the VARIABLE output, because OTHER generators (likely gas-fired power plants) HAVE to counteract, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, the variable wind outputs, UP TO NEAR ZERO wind output, 24/7/365, year after year.
.
Nearby Grids Counteracting Variable Wind Output
By exporting excess electricity, such as to Quebec, via not-yet-existing HV DC lines, NE generators will do less counteracting, but Quebec generators will do more counteracting; there is no free lunch in the real engineering world.

NOTE: Exports from nearby grids may not be available, because they need their electricity for their own users, as happened in 2021, with France not exporting to Germany, Norway not exporting to Germany, nearby states not exporting to California, etc.
.
Cost of Counteracting Variable Wind Output
The counteracting costs imposed on the other generators will be an addition to the “all-in LCOE” of the other generators.
Depending on grid conditions/topology, that cost addition is:
.
Less than 5% at up to 5% annual wind penetration,
About 10% at about 15% wind penetration, etc., as proven in Ireland at 17% wind

That cost addition becomes very large at high levels of wind penetration, because more and more of the other generators will be operating less economically, due to:
.
1) Ramping up/down, at about 75% of rated output, to counteract, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, the variable wind outputs; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh
2) Being on hot, synchronous standby, and cold standby; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh
3) Having much more fuel-guzzling cold start and stops; more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh
4) Having much more wear and tear, more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh, more c/kWh.
5) Producing less, but more expensive electricity, due to inefficiently operating, at a lesser capacity factor, with wind on the grid
.
NOTE: The more wind and solar on the grid, the larger the electricity quantities that need to be counteracted, and the greater the cost of the counteracting services, as proven in Germany and Ireland.

OPEN URL TO READ REST OF ARTICLE

MarkW
February 12, 2023 6:42 am

The big problem is that I’m being forced to subsidize other people’s virtue signaling.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 7:51 am

Attention Nick Stokes
I like to check things for myself when discussing topics like this, as a result I can say that you are so wrong it’s laughable.

I did a daily subtotal for wind as a fairly good metric for wind.
By comparing the UK daily wind total with the German generation data from German Energy Charts which gives weekly charts in 5 minute divisions.
The match is extremely close, high output days match, low output days match, and medium output days match. From that we can say with a high degree of certainty that the list of countries and areas I initially gave you will also track the UK and Germany.
So From 3rd to 15th January Europe had high wind output so no market for surplus, This happened again 29 Jan to 3rd Feb.
On the other hand low output occurred 23rd to 24th and 27th to 28th January and 6th to 7th February this meant that the whole of the area in question was in a wind drought.

The

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 7:54 am

Submitted before I added that the UK National Grid paid users to switch off on the evening of Tuesday 24th January

michel
February 12, 2023 8:28 am

Yes, at the same time as the wind generators were being given constraint payments to stop generating.

Its Alice in Wonderland. We pay Jack not to use electricity and we also pay Jill not to generate it. And we wonder why there is fuel poverty and people freezing in their homes.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 10:41 am

It is an acknowledgement that the grid could not convey power from willing suppliers to willing customers.

People are not freezing in their homes. Jack didn’t have to accept the payments.

February 12, 2023 1:08 pm

People are freezing in their homes. We have seen higher excess deaths in cold weeks. There was even a case blamed on hypothermia, not just being unable to fight off illness through being too cold. The government doesn’t give jack s**t, and he doesn’t get paid if he’s already got no supply via his prepayment meter.

Ben Vorlich
February 12, 2023 1:52 pm

Which willing suppliers of excess wind energy would that be Nick? None in NW Europe. Show the suppliers and numbers

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 6:39 pm

February 12, 2023 8:24 pm

Investment in wind in Scotland is now often designed to harvest constraint payments rather than supply power.

michel
February 13, 2023 12:22 am

Source was the Telegraph.

michel
February 12, 2023 8:25 am

Well done! Exactly what needed to be done.

I have been thinking again about the idea that installing more wind would reduce or eliminate imports. Take today, for instance. At the moment you see wind doing 2.8GW, 8%. Imports are 7.44GW, or about 20%.

To wipe out imports you would have to have, in addition to what is there now, 4-5 times the current installed base of wind that the UK currently has. That means about 100GW, in addition to the 28GW installed now.

And then, think about the curtailment payments. Because there will be times when your 128GW of wind is actually generating 60-70GW, but you have no way of using half of it.

And then think about increased demand from EVs and heat pumps, during a similar calm period to today, when your 128GW is only generating about 10GW. Because however much wind you install, there will still be the same weather, the same calms.

The whole idea, lets move to wind and double demand, is completely insane. And even if it worked, it would make no measurable difference to global emissions, so its doubly insane.

Nick Stokes
February 12, 2023 6:41 pm

wind is actually generating 60-70GW, but you have no way of using half of it”

Constraint payments are made only if the reason was grid congestion, followed by a stop generating request from the grid.

michel
February 13, 2023 12:21 am

No, in this example constraint payments are being made because no matter what the state of the grid, there is no demand for all that peak wind generation.

The problem is, and you can see it if you look at the charts, if you have enough wind installed to take out gas at the lowest wind point you will then have so much that it oversupplies demand when wind is at its highest point. Your proposal would make this far worse, because you not only want to take out gas, you also want to take out interconnect imports. They occur at low wind, as now. So to take them out you have to have hugely overprovisioned wind capacity in order to meet demand without imports at low wind, and that inevitably results in overshooting demand at peak wind..

In the UK demand varies between about 35GW and 45GW – maybe a bit higher. Varies with time of day and season. But the wind bloweth when it listeth, and it often chooses to max out just at low demand points. You can have big wind at 33GW of demand, and in the overbuild scenarios which are big enough to eliminate imports at low wind you would exceed demand.

Nick Stokes
February 13, 2023 1:26 am

No, in this example constraint payments are being made because no matter what the state of the grid, there is no demand for all that peak wind generation.”

It is your made up example. But the fact is that to generate a paid curtailment, the generator has to have been ordered by the grid to curtail, because of some congestion in the grid. Explained here. The grid would not make such an order because of lack of demand.

if you have enough wind installed to take out gas at the lowest wind point you will then have so much that it oversupplies demand when wind is at its highest point”

Rather than developing new strategies, I think it better to stick to the example here of a fixed doubling and its consequence.

Ben Vorlich
February 13, 2023 3:09 am

Nick Stokes
Constraint payments aren’t relevant today, Out of installed capacity

UK 27 GW
France 18GW (2021)
Germany 64GW (2021)
The output is
UK 3.25GW
France 1.5GW
Germany 4.4GW
It’s not very windy in Europe again today.

Last weeks windy conditions aren’t worth a fig today
But you’ll be off arguing black is white on another thread

February 13, 2023 4:42 am

Not true. The Irish grid has frequently had to curtail because demand was not high enough. King Island does it whenever it gets windy, dumping the surplus into the resistor. It is trivial to show that on occasions when wind output is high it will exceed demand by a large margin. Minimum overnight demand goes down to 18GW (the recent record low was actually just 15GW in 2020).

Nick Stokes
February 13, 2023 11:39 am

But they don’t get constraint payments when there is insufficient demand. The payments arise when there is a supplier, a customer, and the grid can’t carry it.

February 13, 2023 1:10 pm

Yes they do get constraint payments when there is insufficient demand. Those will become more frequent as capacity expands. There have already been instances overnight where this has occurred, .and neither domestic demand nor interconnector demand was sufficient to prevent the need for curtailment, and interconnectors were not on maximum export.

michel
February 13, 2023 11:46 pm

Nick, if you are going to make claims about the UK energy environment, you need to first do some research and find out the facts. All the time in these discussions you keep assuming things that support your point of view, and then having it pointed out to you that your assumptions are false.

When skeptics do it, its called denialism.

Nick Stokes
February 14, 2023 2:36 am

OK, let’s have some actual facts that would contradict what I say. I’ve given my source from the grid.

February 14, 2023 5:17 am

The article you cite is a broad brush consumer (dis)information piece. It does not reflect the grid code or actual data. Whilst most curtailment has been because of the grid constraint between Scotland and England, some 18% was in England during 2020 and 2021.

https://renewablesnow.com/news/uk-wind-curtailment-cost-in-past-two-years-put-at-gbp-806m-787668/

That is because there was not enough demand, including via interconnectors and despite negative prices, heavily subsidising exports.

As capacity increases curtailment for lack of demand will also rise.

Nick Stokes
February 14, 2023 12:32 pm

Your link does say that 82% was curtailed because the connector from Scotland couldn’t handle it.

It doesn’t say that the remainder was due to lack of demand anywhere.

February 14, 2023 5:31 pm

It says it was in England. There are not grid constraints in England, especially when demand is low: the grid can deliver 60GW. Example:

23 May 2020 – weekend. Wind forecast was 16-17GW (i.e. pre curtailment)

Demand dipped as low as 15GW overnight. Interconnector exports were well below capacity, despite heavily negative prices. Wind was curtailed down to 10GW to give space to must run generation. There was inadequate demand both in GB and on the Continent to absorb the English surplus, which had to be curtailed on top of Scottish curtailment..Just numerically, wind potential exceeded demand on its own.

Dig at BM reports for the date and you will find all the data to support what I have written.

A bit more intelligence on your part to recognise that already wind generation can exceed low levels of demand would not go amiss. We have recently seen intra day wind generation records as high as 22GW (out of 28GW capacity) – fortunately during periods of higher demand, otherwise the record could not have been achieved. That is substantially above overnight low demand, particularly at weekends in mild weather.

PCman999
February 12, 2023 8:21 am

“…the UK, the additional cost for doubling of wind power capacity is \$6,626 (or NPV of \$4,357) per customer.

Shifting the UK wind/CCGT generation mix from 24%/43% to 35%/31% by doubling wind power capacity at a cost of \$185B must be disappointing to true believers in the virtue of wind power.”

Actually no, it would give climate crisis true believers and warmunists encouragement and ammunition to justify a ruinous transition if it “only” costs rate payers a bit over \$300 a year for 20 years.

They don’t care how much it would cost, as they are so brainwashed by irresponsible media and public figures that they think we’re sll going to die from an extra 0.2°C (I rounded up) per decade.

Paul Johnson
February 12, 2023 9:09 pm

This is a comprehensive analysis, but the problem can be stated more simply:
Since the “standby” generators (which ironically must operate most of the time) must still be built, maintained, and manned at all times, the only system-wide savings is the avoided cost of fuel when the unreliable intermittent power is available. Wind and solar power never clear this hurdle.

zzebowa
February 13, 2023 1:06 am

Of course 100% wind is impossible without storage, so you need full grid capacity in gas/coal etc as back up for when the wind doesnt blow.

So why bother building wind? It is pointless. Just burn gas till the nuclear option comes on line.

John Brown
February 13, 2023 2:33 am

“Moreover, the cost of this scheme dwarfs the cost of a scheme that includes battery storage as a way of increasing the contribution from wind power generation.”

Correct, and I believe there is insufficient world mining capacity to produce all the necessary minerals to make the batteries anyway.

There is also mentioned the possibility to use hydrogen, produced by “excess” wind turbine power, as a store of energy to deal with the wind’s intermittency problem. I have calculated the necessary overbuild as follows :

Suppose we want to use the excess energy from wind turbines to store energy for when the wind doesn’t blow using compressed hydrogen as a store of energy :

This involves electrolysis -> stored, compressed hydrogen gas -> electricity from standard generators as and when required (viz when the wind drops or is too strong).

The following simple calculation, based upon power (GW), rather than energy (TWhrs) and thus not requiring an integration of the power/time graph and an estimate of the maximum period of insufficient power when the wind doesn’t blow, gives the amount of installed wind power required for each unit of dispatchable power required :

Suppose we want P GW of power to be “dispatchable”, meaning always available “on demand”.

Let us start with P GW of installed wind turbine power and calculate the extra installed capacity required to produce P GW of dispatchable/always available power.

Taking the “BEIS UK Energy in Brief 2022” figure of 65 TWhrs for 2021 for both onshore and offshore wind and an installed/nameplate capacity of 25 GW gives a capacity factor of 30% [ 65 TWhrs/(25GW x 24 x 365) = 30%

A capacity factor of 30% means the average amount of power over a year supplied by a wind turbine is 0.3P GW and consequently we will require 0.7P GW of storage.

Taking the efficiencies as:
Electrolysis : 60%
Compression : 87%
Electricity generation : 60%
Gives an overall efficiency of 60% x 87% x 60% = 31%

So the amount of excess power required to produce the missing 0.7P GW is 0.7P GW/0.31 = 2.26P GW

Since the capacity factor is 30%, this means we will need 2.26P/0.3 = 7.5 P GW of additional installed wind power to provide the needed 0.7P GW of dispatchable power.

Hence a total of P GW + 7.5 P  GW = 8.5P GW of installed wind turbine capacity is required to provide 1 P GW of dispatchable power.

This is a best case scenario. Electrolysis efficiency will be less than 60% because the power will be intermittent (say 50%) and the hydrogen burning generators will not have an efficiency of 60% because they will not be running at a constant power and hence more like 40-50% efficiency. If these worst case efficiencies are used then the same calculation gives a figure of 14.5 GW of installed wind capacity is required for each 1 GW of dispatchable power.

So for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable/always available power it will be required to install between 8.5 GW and 14.5 GW of wind turbine capacity.

michel
February 14, 2023 1:26 am

I keep checking and puzzling about all this. Tell me if I have got it wrong.

Right now the UK installed wind base of 28GW is producing 4.53GW. Its been below 5GW for a couple of days (day averages):

Feb 12 3.15GW
Feb 13 3.64 GW

On Feb 1 it was producing 15.1GW.

March last year there was a week long period when it was producing even less, always around 3GW or less, with one day at least at about 0.7GW. Again either side of this valley you have peaks of over 10GW.

This is is a product which no-one in their right mind would buy for purposes of generating power for a constant supply grid. But to continue…

Imports right now are 5.1GW. Gas is 17.36. Total 22.46

So lets say you are trying to eliminate both gas and imports with wind, as Nick thinks possible and desirable.

You can obviously count on a week or more with 28GW producing no more than 3GW, or say roughly 10% of faceplate. So to replace the 22GW of gas and imports you would need, during these dry spells, around 220GW of wind in addition to the 28GW which is now installed.

This is plainly impossible, both financially and operationally.

But at the same time you would, if following the Net Zero plan, be doubling or tripling demand, ie raising it to about 120GW. EVs and heat pumps.

You want to deliver 120GW during these dry spells without using any imports or gas. So how much wind does this require?

Right now 67% of demand is being met by gas, coal, nuclear and biomass. So that will be 120 x .67 = 80.4GW that you have to meet, from a parc which will be delivering 10% of faceplate. Its going to take 800GW of wind.

There is a reason why the New York plans propose installing large amounts of zero carbon base power generation using unknown future technology. Its because you cannot do it with wind.

You can go to Net Zero, at the price of frequent blackouts and far less power use and lots of sweaters and bicycles and general impoverishment.

Or, you can go to heat pumps and EVs, at the price of installing lots of coal and gas generation.

But you cannot at the same time get to Net Zero and move everyone to heat pumps and EVs.