Brits Rumble Frightening Energy Fact: Wind Power Depends on the (ur, ahem) Wind …

turbine collapse 9

Another output slump … But who to blame?


Power from wind turbines slumps – due to lack of wind
The Telegraph
Emily Gosden
25 September 2014

Electricity output from UK wind farms falls by a fifth due to unusually low wind speeds

Power produced by wind farms slumped by a fifth in the second quarter of this year, despite hundreds of new turbines being built – because it wasn’t very windy.

Official Government statistics published on Thursday show that in the three months to the end of June, the amount of electricity produced by offshore wind farms fell by 22 per cent, to 2 terawatt-hours (TWh), compared with the same period the year before.

Yet the number of offshore wind turbines operating grew significantly – with 4.1 gigawatts (GW) of capacity installed in the seas around the UK by June this year, up from 3.5GW by June 2013.

Power output from onshore wind farms also fell, by 17 per cent to 3.22 TWh. The fall came despite dozens of new wind farms being built, increasing onshore wind capacity by 14 per cent over the same period.

There was 8GW of onshore capacity at the end of June, 1GW more than a year before.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said that the impact of increased capacity was “out-weighed by that of very low wind speeds”.

“Average wind speeds were 1.6 knots lower than a year earlier, and the lowest for quarter two for four years. Average wind speeds in June were the lowest for any month in the last 14 years,” it said.

About 900 turbines were constructed on and offshore over the course of 2013, according to Renewable UK.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which publishes data on the sector and is critical of subsidy costs, said: “The latest DECC data is further confirmation that wind power output is highly variable over all timescales, minutes, hours, months, and even from year to year.

“These variabilities are physically manageable but they have highly significant negative economic impacts on the rest of the power generation fleet, whose market is made very uncertain, and these uncertainties ultimately mean much higher costs for consumers.”

While wind power output fell, the amount of electricity generated from solar farms soared by 67 per cent, to 1.2TWh.

The rise was in line with a near-identical increase in the amount of solar capacity installed.

Ministers have admitted that solar farms have been installed far more rapidly than they had expected, thanks to costs falling and developers taking advantage of generous subsidies.

In May they announced they were closing a subsidy scheme two years earlier than planned to stop the spread of the farms, which critics say are blighting the countryside.

Ministers originally anticipated between 2.4-4GW of large-scale solar being installed by 2020. Yet the latest DECC statistics show that the upper end of that range has now been exceeded, with 4.1GW installed by the end of June.

A spokesman for the wind industry trade association RenewableUK said: “Although it’s no secret that there are some periods that are even windier than others, the wider statistics show that wind energy is generating increasing amounts of clean electricity for British homes and businesses year on year.

“When you look at the last twelve months as a whole, generation from renewable sources in the UK went up to just over 17 per cent – up from 13 per cent in the previous 12 months. The lion’s share of that came from onshore and offshore wind – just over 50 per cent of it.

“In August, wind energy outstripped coal and nuclear for several days, and hit at all time 24-hour record high of 22 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.

“National Grid has no problem taking clean power generated by wind whenever it’s available as often as it can, and it can predict exactly where the power will come from in advance with pinpoint accuracy. Every unit of electricity we generate from wind offsets a unit from polluting fossil fuels, so anyone who cares about climate change knows that we need to make the most of it whenever we can.”

One green power company, Infinis Energy, reported last month that its onshore wind farms had exported a third less power in the three months to June, compared to the same period the year before, blaming “low wind speeds experienced across the UK throughout the period”.

However, it said it would be “well placed to benefit from recovering wind speeds when they occur”.
The Telegraph

The wind industry and its parasites are always quick to wax lyrical about those few hours when the wind blew consistently and added a little meaningful power to the grid, but – like the gambler that only ever talks about his wins – these hucksters never seem able to front up to the hundreds of occasions when wind power output collapses for hours and even days on end (see our post here).

STT loves the cyclone of spin from RenewableUK when it talks about some periods being windier than others and telling power punters to look “at the last 12 months as a whole” – in an effort to varnish up the infantile nonsense of trying to rely on intermittent and unreliable wind power. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to rumble the fact that wind power will always be delivered at crazy, random intervals and – on plenty of occasions – won’t be delivered at all.


I say, Watson, you don’t think our lack of progress has
anything to do with the vagaries of the wind by any chance?


Notable too is the breezy optimism from wind power outfit, Infinis Energy when it talks about being “well placed to benefit from recovering wind speeds when they occur”.

In the meantime, their erstwhile customers are supposed to be “well placed” sitting freezing, in the dark, apparently.

The wind industry parades as an answer to global warming (now known as climate change) and does so by wrapping itself in the “alternative” energy tag. Which begs the question: “alternative” to what?

When it comes to their demand for electricity, the power consumer has a couple of basic needs: when they hit the light switch they assume illumination will shortly follow and that when the kettle is kicked into gear it’ll be boiling soon thereafter. And the power consumer assumes that these – and similar actions in a household or business – will be open to them at any time of the night or day, every day of the year.


What’s that little fella, not satisfied with your power
needs being delivered as an average over time?


For conventional generators, delivering power on the basic terms outlined above is a doddle: delivering base-load power around the clock, rain, hail or shine is just good business. It’s what the customer wants and is prepared to pay for, so it makes good sense to deliver on-demand.

But for wind power generators it’s never about how much the customer wants or when they want it, it’s always and everywhere about the vagaries of the wind. When the wind speed increases to 25 m/s, turbines are automatically shut-off to protect the blades and bearings; and below 6-7 m/s turbines are incapable of producing any power at all.

It’s no wonder that the Brits have noticed that wind power is nothing more than a sick joke.

Even with the most geographically widespread grid-connected set of wind farms in the world (the 3,342 MW of wind power capacity connected to Australia’s Eastern grid across SA, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW) there are dozens of occasions each year when total wind power output struggles to top 2% of installed capacity – and hundreds when it fails to muster even 5% (see our posts here and here and here).

Now, if the power consumer was given advance warning of when these total output failures were going to occur, they might simply reconsider their selfish demands of having illumination after dark or that hot cuppa in the morning. That way, they might still consider wind power as some kind of “alternative” for conventional power?

But, so far, power consumers remain stubbornly selfish; wedded to the idea that when they hit the switch, their power needs will be satisfied that very instant (the cheek, hey?).

And that’s where the myth about wind power being some kind of “alternative” falls in a heap.

Unless you’re prepared to live like stone-age hermits, power delivered at the whim of mother nature (which in practical terms means no power at all, hundreds of times each year) is NO alternative for power delivered on-demand; anytime of the day or night; every single day of the year – and in volumes sufficient to satisfy all consumers connected to the same network, at the same time.

RenewableUK’s waffle about past wind power output averages over time is patent nonsense: for most people power consumption is a here-and-now kind of thing. In the absence of a conventional generation system with adequate capacity to satisfy demand, modern economies would quickly descend into chaos if left to rely on a power generation system entirely dependent on the weather.

But it’s the howlers contained in this quote that take the glittering prize:

“National Grid has no problem taking clean power generated by wind whenever it’s available as often as it can, and it can predict exactly where the power will come from in advance with pinpoint accuracy. Every unit of electricity we generate from wind offsets a unit from polluting fossil fuels, so anyone who cares about climate change knows that we need to make the most of it whenever we can.”

STT’s not sure what the benefit of predicting complete collapses in wind power output “with pinpoint accuracy” might be. Unless it’s meant to remind us that behind every single MW of wind power capacity there’s an equal amount of fossil fuel generating capacity kept ready and waiting (burning mountains of coal and gas) to take up the slack? When infants are left to their own devices it’s always nice to know there are adults around to take responsibility; except in this case, we’re forced to pay twice: once with massive subsidies to wind power outfits that simply can’t be relied on to stump up power when it’s needed; and again for the conventional generation capacity essential to keeping the grid up and running. So far, so costly and pointless.

Then there’s the descent to the old “climate change” chestnut.

Nowhere in the world has the wind industry provided any actual proof that it has in fact reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector. When we talk about “proof” we’re not talking about smoke and mirrors “modelling” based on long-term average wind farm output – which ignores the extra gas and coal being burnt (and wasted) in order to balance the grid to account for wild fluctuations in wind power output (see our post here); and to maintain additional “spinning reserve” (see our post here) to account for complete collapses in wind power output – as seen in this post.

As we have pointed out just once or twice – the need for 100% of wind power capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel generation sources means that wind power cannot and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

E.ON operates numerous transmission grids in Germany and, therefore, has the unenviable task of being forced to integrate the wildly fluctuating and unpredictable output from wind power generators, while trying to keep the German grid from collapsing (E.ON sets out a number of the headaches caused by intermittent wind power in the Summary of this paper at page 4). Dealing with the fantasy that wind power is an alternative to conventional generation sources, E.ON says:

“Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a limited extent. Their dependence on the prevailing wind conditions means that wind power has a limited load factor even when technically available. It is not possible to guarantee its use for the continual cover of electricity consumption. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90% of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online [and burning fuel] in order to guarantee power supply at all times.”

STT is happy to go all out and say that in Australia wind power requires 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by conventional generation sources. As just one recent example, on 3 consecutive days (20, 21 and 22 July 2014) the total output from all of the wind farms connected to the Eastern Grid (total capacity of 2,952 MW – and spread over 4 states, SA, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW) was a derisory 20 MW (or 0.67% of installed capacity) for hours on end (see our post here). The 99.33% of wind power output that went AWOL for hours (at various times, 3 days straight) was, instead, all supplied by conventional generators; the vast bulk of which came from coal and gas plants, with the balance coming from hydro.

And Britain is no different (see our post here).

For wind power to reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector it has be a true “substitute” for conventional generation sources. Because it can’t be delivered “on-demand” (can’t be stored) and is only “available” at crazy, random intervals (if at all) wind power will never be a substitute for conventional generation sources (see our post here).

Perhaps the reason that the wind industry has never produced a shred of evidence (anywhere) to show that wind power has reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector is simply because it can’t. Running counter to wind industry claims about wind power abating CO2 emissions, the result of trying to incorporate wind power into a coal/gas fired grid is increased CO2 emissions (see our post here and this European paper here; this Irish paper here; this English paper here; this American article and this Dutch study here).

Wind power has NOTHING to do with CO2 emissions abatement in the electricity sector; and, therefore, has NOTHING to do with global warming (or climate change) – which means there is simply no justification for the massive stream of subsidies filched from power consumers and tax payers and directed to wind power outfits.

And now the stats are in, the wind industry is struggling to maintain the ruse that wind power is a credible source of electricity at all.

Reminiscent of uptight hotelier, Basil Fawlty trying to pin fault for the chaos he caused on his bemused guests, the German wind industry have started cursing the wind for not blowing (see our post here) and now their British counterparts have been reduced to the same tactic.

Some might call the wind industry “pathetic” – but that would be to ignore the $billions stolen from power punters around the globe and the grief caused to thousands of previously peaceful rural communities.

STT calls it the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time.

Definition of fraud

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Outstanding evidence that reliance on the wind to produce our supplies results in – if the wind doesn’t blow the lights don’t glow.
    Yet those poor deluded people supporting the theory that wind will be blowing somewhere in the world can’t accept that yes it may be, but if it isn’t blowing in the right place at the right time and strength it is all but useless.
    Such a simple thing to comprehend but some people find it so difficult to accept.

  2. Greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time says STT. Well they are absolutely correct. Meanwhile the government of Australia, elected to stop this sort of rort, are ‘chatting’ to the labor party via MacFarlane and Hunt working out a way to let it all continue. I have not seen one comment of acknowledgement by either of those ministers of the ‘truth’ about wind farms as outlined in this post. The reason for that is simply that they are unable to look at the actual evidence and are still under the influence of the board of ‘goons’ appointed to oversee the the ‘energy white paper’ who have wedded their careers to seeing Australia destroyed by computer modelling fantasy. Meanwhile the wind industry has re-written the Warburton RET review findings to say how wonderful the wind industry is at providing GHG emission reductions at the same time as providing jobs and cheap power! There is apparently no end to their capacity to distort and lie.

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