People have been saying this would happen

UK electricity demand hit its highest level this winter on Monday – while wind turbines generated their lowest output, official figures show.

Cold weather saw UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm, according to National Grid.

At the same time, low wind speeds meant the UK’s wind turbines were producing just 573 megawatts of power, enough to meet only one per cent of demand – the lowest of any peak period this winter, Telegraph analysis of official data shows.

Earlier on Monday wind output had dropped even lower, generating just 354 megawatts at 2pm, or 0.75 per cent of Britain’s needs – the lowest seen during any period this winter.

Because peak energy demand is on cold winter days. And in the UK a cold winter day means an no wind. QED.

43 thoughts on “People have been saying this would happen”

  1. Cold winter days are often sunny. We should incorporate solar cells into the blades of the turbines. Ho yuss.

  2. ..and they were draining electricity from an already strained system to keep the useless birdmincers’ hydraulic fluid from freezing.

  3. What’s that peculiar noise?

    Ah yes it’s the sound of a million Jonathan Porrits with their fingers in their ears going “LALALALALALALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

    Cunts.

  4. Cameron sacked the only minister with a grasp of the disastrous effect of energy policy under the climate change legislation. I write this as I look out of my Sheffield window and see huge flakes of ‘a thing of the past’ falling from the sky.

  5. So Much for Subtlety

    dearieme – “Cold winter days are often sunny. We should incorporate solar cells into the blades of the turbines. Ho yuss.”

    We could tie a politician or a bureaucrat or a Greenie or one of their lobbyists to the end of the turbine blade. Then drop them. Gravity ought to provide a fair degree of spin.

    If we ran out of people needing to be at the end of a long piece of hemp, I am sure we could take them back up and throw them off again.

    A sort of Green-meets-Green form of power generation – inspired by both our environmentalists and our diverse and vibrant communities now in Syria. It could work. It really could.

  6. How about we suck the life force from environmentalists on such cold days like this? They could be wired up to the nearest old peoples home to make sure they don’t freeze to death.

  7. All subsidies to wind/solar wankery need to be ended tomorrow.
    We need a nuclear power system using much smaller local units which should also be able to maintain local power even if the national grid went kaput. And while they are at it they might as well harden the transformers so a super Solar surge won’t leave us sitting in the dark either.

    Lots of future options are getting nearer too. Thorium reactors, half a dozen possible types of fusion reactor etc. That we are wasting time/money on this ecofreak shite is a measure of how deep leftist poison has run.

  8. bloke (not) in spain

    “People have been saying this would happen” because people who’ve lived with “renewables” generation are used to the inevitable production/demand gaps. Why they spend so much money on battery storage/back-up generators to try & bridge them..
    You can ignore the real world but the real world ain’t gonna ignore you. Even if you are a tree-hugging envirofanatic.

  9. SCENE. EXTERIOR. COLD WINTERS DAY.
    A Mayan pyramid surmounted by an unmoving wind turbine. At the turbine’s base, Al Gore, dressed in a costume woven from brightly coloured Renewable Obligation Certificates stands poised over the prostrate body of a pensioner. He holds a still beating human heart up to the windmill.

    GORE PRIEST: “Oh Gaia, accept this offering and deliver us thy bounty of power that my Toyota Pious may once again move.”

    The windmill does not move in the still air.

    GORE PRIEST: “NEXT!”

    Gore’s acolyte priests, Porrit and Monbiot, seize the next waiting pensioner and drag them to the bloody slab.

    Continue scene until wind blows or priest runs out of pensioners.

  10. What I want to know is, who pays to have these things taken down and the huge lump of concrete dug out of the ground when they all die in 15 years or so? Has this cost been factored in anywhere? if so I dont think Ive seen it discussed much.

  11. Mr Ecks
    January 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

    ================

    I agree that subsidies to wind/solar should be stopped. But stop there. Talking about futuristic sources of energy is a needless distraction, especially the “thorium reactor” nonsense. It is an impossibility in nuclear physics.

  12. Funny that you make no mention of the previous week when we had huge amounts of wind and presumably high levels of wind generation Selective use of data perhaps?

  13. We should all remember this day when, in a few months’ time, Cameron announces increased subsidies for wind, solar, tidal and mouse-in-a-wheel power to maintain their competetiveness in the face of falling oil prices.

    This attracts 0.005% of the Green vote and is judged a resounding success by Letwin and Osborne.

  14. Veritas, I’d rather not have to sit in a brownout/blackout for a week when it’s below zero, or I’m due for surgery. Or are you about to show us what a city-week’s worth of battery looks like?

    No accounting for tastes, of course.

  15. @”veritas
    January 21, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Funny that you make no mention of the previous week when we had huge amounts of wind and presumably high levels of wind generation Selective use of data perhaps?

    But this was when we needed the most electricity. Imagine if an England striker scored lots and lots of goals – but only against poor teams e.g. Northern Ireland and none against Germany, Brazil etc. He would be worse than a player who score on average one goal per game against NI and 0.5 against the top teams.
    BTW I really want wind power to work but ignoring its failings will make that less likely not more likely.

  16. “Cold winter days are often sunny”

    True, but cold winter nights are often not – and the nights are longer in winter too.

    Solar ain’t the answer either.

    Sooner or later we will have to build real grown-up power stations.

  17. Veritas

    Nobody doubts that when the wind blows (at the right speed) the windmills harvest wind. But when will that be? Nobody knows.

    The problem is our society (and for all the moaning I am glad to be alive now and not 500 years ago) needs predictable, reliable energy in large amounts. Non-despatchable sources are highly problematic and require enormous back up. Not quite 100%: expensive, technically complicated and polluting, but…

    If it makes you feel good…..

  18. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “Thorium is not fissile; it is not reactive. Deal with it.”

    It’s fertile. And that’s how thorium reactors work. They’re breeder reactors. Deal with it.

  19. Thanks for backing me up, Bloke in Costa Rico!

    You probably didn’t mean to. Splain to us how seeding a uranium reactor with thorium converts it to a “thorium reactor,” which can’t react?

    In 70 years of experimenting, not one kiloWattsecond of electricity has been produced by seeding a nuclear reactor with thorium, yet we get grand pronouncements that . . . soon . . . our electricity will be coming from “thorium reactors.”

    The fact is that seeding a uranium reactor with thorium is a crappy way to produce uranium.

  20. veritas,

    “Funny that you make no mention of the previous week when we had huge amounts of wind and presumably high levels of wind generation Selective use of data perhaps?”

    Irrelevant. Electricity is about continuous supply. About plugging something in and getting power to it. You can’t easily store large amounts of it, and no-one wants to be running a factory with massive battery backups and warning people to stop in 15 minutes.

  21. bloke (not) in spain

    “Funny that you make no mention of the previous week when we had huge amounts of wind and presumably high levels of wind generation Selective use of data perhaps?”

    That’d be the week the windmill got too much wind & fell over?

  22. Thorium is transmuted to U233. So what?. No one has produced power because the money is glad-handed out by politicos to various well-established fission/fusion gravy trains. The fission crew produce reactors on the “elephant is a mouse built to govt specifications” principle while the fusion “containers”–laser/magnetic tokamak etc–are big on indefinite promises. 60 years ago they said we would have fusion in 50 years. I attended a lecture by some chunk from Harwell and asked him how long it would be before fusion was up and running. “Oh another 30 years should do it” he sez. Fuck govt science.

    You are involved in the nuclear pseudo-business are you Gamecock?.

  23. Last week is last week Veritas. Who cares. Where’s the power now? This is exactly the point, which you’ve missed.

    DannyL, no one digs out the bases. Rehabilitation only applies to miners and such. Renewable projects don’t have to sign up to that stuff! Even taking down the towers doesn’t happen usually. They just rust like the useless heaps of junk they are.

  24. How many of the reactors they use in nuclear subs would be required to power London? Is anyone prepared to do the sums?

  25. Greenouts are inevitable and they’ll kill people.
    When that happens a British Truth and Non-Reconciliation Commission should match those deaths with public executions of the MPs who voted for the Climate Change Act and the ‘scientists’ and Civil Servants who advised them.

  26. How many of the reactors they use in nuclear subs would be required to power London? Is anyone prepared to do the sums?

    I was made to do the sums at Greenwich in 1991. The simple answer is “lots”. Much better to build much larger, lower power density, reactors, three or four to a site. And design them to be refueled, which PWR2 wasn’t.

  27. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “…not one kiloWattsecond [sic] of electricity has been produced by seeding a nuclear reactor with thorium…”

    I would be very surprised if five years from now that statement is still operational.

  28. “People have been saying this would happen”

    Indeed they have almost every year for the last 5-10 years. Richard North (remember him) was all over this yonks ago.

  29. So Much for Subtlety

    veritas – “Funny that you make no mention of the previous week when we had huge amounts of wind and presumably high levels of wind generation Selective use of data perhaps?”

    The whole problem with wind is that it is intermittent. We would not be having these problems if it was consistent. Consistent anything really. Consistently slow and we could deal with that. Consistently strong and we wouldn’t be complaining. Consistently not at all and we wouldn’t be wasting so much money pretending. It works just well enough to provide cover for morons but not well enough to actually provide the power we need.

    Gamecock – “You probably didn’t mean to. Splain to us how seeding a uranium reactor with thorium converts it to a “thorium reactor,” which can’t react?”

    You would normally build a special reactor. Not use a reactor designed for non-breeding and using U-235.

    “The fact is that seeding a uranium reactor with thorium is a crappy way to produce uranium.”

    It is. But Molten-Salt reactors are things of beauty and elegance. And they work. The problem is we have not needed to breed. Once-through Slow Reactors have been fine. U-235 is cheap. The only reactors we have had have been for nuclear bomb programmes. So they are designed to turn Pu-240 into heat and a lot of neutrons to produce some clean Pu-239. Some of them have generated a bit of power on the side, but that is not what they are for.

    If we had put on tenth of the effort into a thorium breeder we would have them by now. It is just a question of when. There is no science questions here. Just engineering. We ought to build one anyway to burn up the transuranic waste at Sellafield.

  30. @Gamecock: you’re indulging in pendantry of the highest order. A ‘thorium reactor’ uses thorium as its fuel. Yes, thorium itself is not fissile, thats the beauty of the concept, it only works while we fire neutrons at it. If anything goes wrong with the process, the neutrons stop, the reaction stops. Yes, technically its a uranium reactor, in that the thorium is bombarded with neutrons and converts to U-233, which is fissile. But to argue that something you stick thorium into and get heat/electricity out of isn’t a thorium reactor is like arguing that the heat coming out of my log stove doesn’t come from the logs I’m burning, because in actual fact logs don’t burn, they merely emit a gas when heated which itself is flammable, and my wood stove is in fact a gas fire. Technically true, but to all intents and purposes a pointless bit of nit-picking.

    And again, while its true the US Oak Ridge molten salt nuclear reactor didn’t produce any electricity, as it was an experimental unit, it was at full power for several years in the 60s and produced heat at its full capacity (7.4MW). As it was the heat generated was dispersed via a cooling system, rather than used to generate power.

    So the concept has been operated and proved to work. Whether or not its capable of being scaled up to Grid production remains to be seen. But given its obvious advantages over current nuclear reactors (safety, wide availability of thorium as fuel, non weaponisation characteristics) it deserves to be thoroughly investigated.

  31. If you want to rely solely on wind-power you need to build enough Dinorwics to supply the entire grid at peak demand levels (or peak night-time demand as domestic solar would be economic compared to wind-powr plus transmission and distribution costs). Slight problem in the UK – not enough potential sites to do that (even worse in Ireland). So we should be heavily dependent on Norway and connector cable across the North Sea (except there is a deep trench between Norway’s continental shelf and Britain’s – which is one reason why it made sense to pipe Ekofisk gas to the UK). Sorry – too late, Norway is (together with Sweden’s nuclear power stations) already balancing Denmark’s wind-power-dependent supply and when Sweden closes its nuclear plant Norway won’t be able to balance both Denmark and the British Isles.
    As I have said before, so sorry if it is borin,g the Dutch know how to use windmills – for intermittent power (draining polders etc). For grid baseload? You have got to be joking.

  32. So Much for Subtlety

    john77 – “As I have said before, so sorry if it is borin,g the Dutch know how to use windmills – for intermittent power (draining polders etc). For grid baseload? You have got to be joking.”

    So there is an easy solution to this – dam the North Sea! We need to build a wall from Scotland to the Orkneys to Norway (don’t think we can take in the Faroe islands I am afraid) and another one from England to Calais. Then we can have a combined Tidal-power and Wind-power system where all those Norwegian and Danish windmills can be used to pump water out of the North Sea. And when we need power, we can let some back in.

    And think of the jobs all that construction would create!

    I want to get Ritchie’s support for this. But I don’t think he would agree if I raised it. Anyone want to go over there and suggest it to him? I wonder what percentage of British pensions would have to be invested to build it ….. But it is just the sort of thing he has called for.

  33. @ SMFS
    And all the goods shipped to or from all the countries bordering the Baltic (Sweden, Finland Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, plus the Netherlands and Belgium) would need transshipment overland through England or France which would generate enough revenue over a millennium or so to pay for the sea walls.
    A brilliant plan!
    That the impoverishment of the countries bordering the Baltic would put them back into Soviet-era hardship must surely enthuse Mr Murphy and all the anti-growth greens.

  34. John77

    “If you want to rely solely on wind-power you need to build enough Dinorwics to supply the entire grid at peak demand levels (or peak night-time demand as domestic solar would be economic compared to wind-powr plus transmission and distribution costs)”

    When the UK were last looking at “proper” nuclear power, three sites for pumped storage power stations were identified: Dinorwig (as you’ve mentioned) in North Wales, Cruachan near Oban and a third site, I believe on Exmoor.

    The problem is of course that Greenies would have a fit if you suggested building man made lakes and running high voltage pylons across the countryside. No, their answer to generation falling behind demand will simply be “demand management” (aka “turn those pesky customers off”) through your clever new smart meter….

  35. So Much for Subtlety

    john77 – “And all the goods shipped to or from all the countries bordering the Baltic (Sweden, Finland Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, plus the Netherlands and Belgium) would need transshipment overland through England or France which would generate enough revenue over a millennium or so to pay for the sea walls.”

    Well they would need a few locks on the dam walls. But we could charge a lot for them.

    Rhyds – “The problem is of course that Greenies would have a fit if you suggested building man made lakes and running high voltage pylons across the countryside.”

    In fairness to George Monbiot he does understand the logical implications of what he supports and he did argue to basically concrete over every mountain valley in Scotland to provide storage for renewables.

    “No, their answer to generation falling behind demand will simply be “demand management” (aka “turn those pesky customers off”) through your clever new smart meter….”

    Indeed. Third World poverty looks so glamorous in the Third World.

  36. Jim
    January 21, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    And again, while its true the US Oak Ridge molten salt nuclear reactor didn’t produce any electricity,

    ==============

    Nor did it have any thorium in it. So what’s your point?

  37. Mr Ecks
    January 21, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Thorium is transmuted to U233. So what?. No one has produced power because the money is glad-handed out by politicos to various well-established fission/fusion gravy trains.

    ===============

    Thorium fan boys tell us the problems are political, and not technical.

    “Thorium is transmuted to U233. So what?”

    In this context, that is a lie. A little bit is transmuted. Not enough to be worthwhile. If you were desperate for uranium, it could be worthwhile. But we are hundreds of years from that point.

    So why is China pursuing it? Perhaps they plan on invading Australia in 10 years, then their access to world uranium markets will be limited.

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