In an article on wind powered generators last week another mainstream media science & technology writer showed himself in need of remedial education in basic literacy:
"Meanwhile, 14GW of installed capacity puts us second in the world behind China," he burbled
The problem here is inability to understand the meaning of 'installed capacity.'
If it means a capability of generating 14GW of electricity, as it would if we were discussing gas, nuclear or coal that would be lovely. But on the day in question, according to Gridwatch UK, ALL our installed wind capacity (38GW the government claims), both offshore and on land, was generating only 8% of the 30 GW the nation was using at the time.
Gas and solar were doing well when the screenshot was taken (sunny, low wind day day - solar has the same problems as wind.) nuclear was steady at 17% and we were importing 20% from cross channel links, mostly France. Biomass and hydro made up the balance.
Once again the facts prove sustainables are not capable of sustaining an adequate power supply.
According to estimates from RenewableUK, the offshore
wind projects eligible auction in this year’s round could, had anybody bothered to turn up to bid for the licences, have “powered nearly 8
million homes a year and saved consumers £2bn a year compared to the
cost of electricity from gas”. And although the cost of offshore wind
has risen, Renewable UK claimed it is still significantly cheaper than new gas plants. In view of such congfidence from the green lobby it is curious that not one of the 5 areas set to be licenced for offshore wind farm development attracted a single bid.
The first step to understanding what happened is to debunk themyth about about renewables being cheaper than gas, nuclear or coal. To suggest such a thing is an outright deception. Renewables UK, a QANGO tasked with promoting intermittent, weather - dependent technologies for supplying our electricity unsurprisingly talk up the virtues of wind and solar because they represent the commercial (not charitable) interests of the green energy industry rther than the interests of the consumer.
The true price of renewables could be established by demanding all power generators be geared to ‘demand follow’, which is the type of power supply the grid actually needs. What would renewable suppliers do? With no scalable storage solution they would have no choice but to build gas / coal / nuclear backup capacity to a level comparable to their installed renewable capacity. Then their per Megawatt price would be north of £100/MWh and the true cost would be revealed.
The Renewable UK case rests on a blatantly false claim: “ And although the cost of offshore wind has risen, it is still significantly cheaper than new gas plants.”
This ignores the fact that windmills are highly intermittent and, unlike gas and coal, incapable of producing continuous power. To make a fair price comparison, windmill operators should be required to include in their bids the full cost of the necessary storage that their windmills should have in order to deliver continuous power - which is, after all, essential to their customers.
This may well be technically impossible, as the amount of storage required is vast. But it would certainly show that the true cost of practically usable windmill power is an order of magnitude (or even several orders of magnitude) greater than coal or gas. And always will be.
This true cost of intermittent sources is NEVER presented because the cost of running the necessary backup for when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine is always ignored. The inevitable logic of the exercise would probably show that commercially it would be better to just build new gas and nuclear stations and dump the renewables. Which is precisely what we should do as a nation. Because this is not the route to cheap power, neither is it the route to net zero - the gas backup will always emit carbon.
The only way to a demand led, carbon free grid is nuclear. We should stop wasting our time and money on intermittent, unreliable supply in the wrong places miles from demand. Burn gas while we resurrect our erstwhile nuclear industry. Who knows we might even achieve a true net zero grid by 2050.
At the moment there are many projects approved over the last few years that the energy companies have not bothered to progress, putting more projects out, just to sit on a shelf would have been pointless. Thus it is gratifying that the auction closed with no takers, the 4.4p per unit royalty due to the government was not enough for energy companies to invest even though they are selling at 30-40p. Had the government offered a much higher price perhaps they would have been takers, but the government would have been then accused of forcing consumers to pay higher prices and of them lining the pockets of the energy companies.
This renewables nonsense all started with Ed Miliband when he was Energy Secretary in Gordon Brown's government, He and other politicians, all singularly unqualified to deal with matters relating to science and technology abandoned expert engineering advice from the old CEGB in favour of the policies recommended by 'scientists' who sit in universities making mathematical models of power stations without ever having been anywhere near a working installation. Seduced by all the virtue signalling talk about saving the planet and being environment friendly the politicians simply reneged on their social contract to serve the people, in the case of electricity by ensuring an adequate and affordable supply, in order to demonstrate their green credentials in the hope of winning the votes of middle class liberals.
In doing so they have in effect quadrupled our supply prices, crippling UK industry, and plunging millions into fuel poverty, as a direct result of their policy. They have spent and subsidised wind, with infrastructure to the tune of over £220Bn, which is not new capacity merely replacing a portion of that all sold to foreign energy companies to prematurely close, to meet arbitrary EU. emission levels, but similar German plant meet
Net Zero is a £3 Trillion disaster waiting to befall this country, cheered in by green activists who would rather import oil and gas halfway around the world than drreamof producing it here until we have viable storage, whilst China, India, and others exceed our total CO2 savings every 17 weeeks.RELATED: