What I\’d be interested to know is whether this is in fact true?
Centrica and other energy companies last week told DECC that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for all those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce even less power than usual.
We will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional £10 billion on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on \”spinning reserve\”, 24 hours a day, just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines. This is that their power continually fluctuates anywhere between full capacity to zero (where it often stood last winter, when national electricity demand was at a peak). So unless back-up power is instantly available to match any shortfall, the lights will go out.
Two things make this even more absurd. One, as the energy companies pointed out to DECC, is that it will be amazingly costly and wildly uneconomical, since the dedicated power plants will often have to run at a low rate of efficiency, burning gas but not producing electricity. This will add billions more to our fuel bills for no practical purpose. The other absurdity, as recent detailed studies have confirmed, is that gas-fired power stations running on \”spinning reserve\” chuck out much more CO2 than when they are running at full efficiency – thus negating any savings in CO2 emissions supposedly achieved by the windmills themselves.
That we need to have backup gas stations, yes, agreed that that is obviously true. There\’s no other energy production (or, rather, energy conversion system into \’leccie) that is sufficiently responsive to be able to act as back up.
But is it actually true that the CO2 emissions from such back up are going to be greater than the emissions saved by having the windmills?
Yes, I know, there\’s a number of people saying it will be. And from the other side, well, I\’ve not really seen a discussion of this from the pro-windmill side.
So, can anyone point me to a reasoned and reasonable discussion of this point: what are the emissions from the required back up?
No, people telling us that a smart grid will do it all are not good enough. Yes, I know that Greenpeace et al start their calculations by saying we\’ll be using less energy in 40 years than we do now. And that energy will be intermittent at the discretion of the grid (that\’s what those smart meters allowing power to be cut to houses at times of peak demand are all about). That\’s not what I mean at all.
What are the emissions from gas fired back up as against emissions not made by having windmills?