The fact that wind power depends on the ….. ahem … wind is the biggest bugbear to eco-fascist plans for giant fan domination across the globe; and their ultimate mission to go “fossil free” – they mean abstaining from the use of “fossil fuel”, rather than ceasing to rely on T-Rex and his – now stony/boney – kin. Although they have no apparent hesitation when it comes to burning up millions of litres of kerosene, flying to groovy backpacker must-sees, and “climate change” jamborees, all over the globe (see our post here).
The more deluded that walk amongst us claim that “COAL IS DEATH” – and that – with just a few million more of these things – wind power will destroy fossil fuel power generation – and we’ll all get to wallow in an endless stream of wonderful ‘free wind energy’.
Now, if you’re looking to aggrieve the already unhinged, then keep hitting the eco-fascist with the same question over and over again: WHERE DOES THE POWER COME FROM WHEN THE WIND STOPS BLOWING?
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 amount to a meaningful power generation source.
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.
In just one 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 (at that time, a 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.
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” and is only “available” at crazy, random intervals (if at all) wind power will never be a substitute for conventional generation sources (see our posts here and here).
What’s depicted above is the output from every wind farm connected to Australia’s Eastern Grid during May. We think that we’re probably too fair in describing what’s depicted as “crazy” and “random”. On one level it’s a “joke”; but – in the grown up world, which depends on a constantly stable, reliable and dependable power system, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
One of the wilder claims made by the wind industry is that if you erect thousands of giant fans over a large enough area wind power will produce base-load power and replace on-demand sources such as hydro, gas and coal: the “distributed network” myth.
The wind farms responsible for the thumping output seen in the graph from 22 July 2014, and the chaos seen in the graph from May this year, are spread over 4 states – SA, NSW, Tasmania and Victoria – from Jamestown in the Mid-North, west to Cathedral Rocks on lower Eyre Peninsula and south to Millicent in South Australia; down to Cape Portland (Musselroe) and Woolnorth (Cape Grim) in Tasmania; all over Victoria; and right up to Cullerin on the New South Wales Tablelands.
Those wind farms have hundreds of fans spread out over a geographical expanse of 632,755 km². That’s an area which is 2.75 times the combined area of England (130,395 km²) Scotland (78,387 km²) and Wales (20,761 km²) of 229,543 km².
Nowhere else in the world are so many interconnected wind farms spread over such a large geographical expanse. If there was a shred of substance to the distributed network myth, then we’d see it in the data pitched up daily by Aneroid Energy. But it just ain’t there.
As to the “hope” clung to by the wind industry’s spruikers that all this will change in the future when, somehow, a cost effective means of storing electricity in bulk magically appears, it’s just that: hope.
Wind power apologists have been talking about storing electricity generated by wind farms (usually at night, when there’s no market for it) and feeding it into the system to match demand for over 30 years. While at the fantasy level almost anything is possible, the economics of energy production says otherwise:
Wind turbines don’t generate a single spark until the wind hits at least 5 m/s (18km/h); don’t hit ‘rated power’ (ie, maximum output) until wind speeds reach 11 m/s (40km/h); and get shut down automatically to protect blades and bearings when wind speeds hit 25 m/s (90km/h).
Despite wind being very much their ‘business’, around the globe wind power outfits have taken to blaming the ‘absence’ of it – as if it were one of Newton’s constants, you know, like gravity – for their financial, and other troubles, as detailed in these posts:
- Texas Blames Wind Power Slump on (you guessed it) … the Wind
- Germans Blame “Missing Wind” for their Wind Power Debacle
- Brits Rumble Frightening Energy Fact: Wind Power Depends on the (ur, ahem) Wind …
Here in Australia, near-bankrupt wind cowboys, Infigen (see our post here) have pointed the finger at – you guessed it – THE WIND, for a massive drop in revenues (see this lament from the eco-facists over at ruin-economy). Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
If you think the “Wind Gods” – in deference to desperate wind industry prayers – might have become a tad more favourable to wind power outfits and those that worship them, then here’s a recent take on their continued meteorological-malevolence from the UK.
The data proves that it is a myth that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK
20 June 2015
SINCE the start of last week (Monday, June 8) we have once again experienced the progressive collapse in output of the UK windfleet.
With an installed measured windfleet capacity equivalent to 35 per cent of the UK demand last week, wind generation in the pleasant weather steadily fell from a very low 5.6 per cent of our needs on the Monday at breakfast to 2.92 per cent at 8pm on the Friday – an output of only eight per cent of the windfleet’s capacity.
It is routine for professional engineering design contractors/consultancies to conduct “cold eyes” reliability assessments as their project designs develop because performance guarantees are customarily part of their contract obligations and carry financial liabilities.
As a chartered engineer I have contributed to/assisted in many rigorous engineering review sessions to this purpose.
These assessments seek also to establish the “Defining Case” that determines the most probable cause of performance failure.
Such assessments will have been addressed within the energy industry and I am sure they are aware of the risks but they carry little liability under privatisation.
Wind turbines do not increase the energy security of the UK.
Three of the primary performance reliability challenges of increasing wind penetration in our grid, all of which are major threats, are maintenance of frequency when generation unpredictably and quickly rises and falls by large amounts, maintaining reactive “wattless” power to prevent voltage collapse and thirdly, maintaining synchronism between generators under fault situations and resultant wind turbine drop outs from the network.
But the “Defining Case”, by far, in determining the probability of grid failure is the incidence of sustained collapse or near collapse of the UK wide windfleet output. We have already had numerous and frequent instances since December last year due to normal high pressure weather events including, cumulatively, almost two weeks of April.
Whilst the wind energy representative bodies such as Scottish Renewables and groups such as WWF are quick to boast about higher output months like May, the overarching wind power reliability Defining Case will always be recurring, sustained, output collapse.
Storage of the huge levels of energy from wind required to compensate for its frequent output collapse is presently and will remain a physical and financial pipedream and as last week’s data confirms yet again it also remains a myth that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK.