The real ‘challenge’ is not what you do when wind and solar energy can give you 100 per cent, but when they choose to give you zero or all-but zero
Britain has something like 11,000 so-called wind turbines. They are mostly scattered all over the green hills of England, Scotland and Wales, but 2300 of the bird-killers are located offshore all around the coast.
They have what is quaintly and fraudulently described as a total “installed generation capacity” of just shy of 25,000 megawatts – you know those typical fraudulent claims: “enough to power so many thousands of homes”.
If they could deliver their so-called installed capacity – as coal-fired and nuclear power stations have mostly been doing, for 100 years and 60 years respectively – they would be able to supply 100 per cent of Britain’s demand for electricity through the night and much of daytime demand.
Overnight Britain’s grid demand drops to around 22,000MW; come the day it kicks up to 30,000MW, generally peaking around 35,000MW, although winter demand approaches 40,000MW.
But of course generation from these turbines never gets anywhere near “capacity”; when the wind is blowing and blowing strong, and pretty much everywhere, generation from these wind turbines can get to around 13,000MW, often supplying more than half Britain’s grid electricity.
That’s when the wind is blowing; and when it’s not? What might you think? Surely 6000MW – 25 per cent of so-called capacity? Surely, as the claim goes, the wind will be blowing somewhere? No, well what about 3000MW?
Try 67MW – as was the case, Thursday morning at 11.35am. It must have been a beautiful, indeed utterly perfect, English (and Scottish and Welsh) summer day: not a breath of wind anywhere on the ground and all around freed Albion.
Just let that reality sink in, because it is the future we are rushing insanely to embrace: the installed capacity of the wind turbines is 25,000MW; on a very good day generation can run at 13,000MW; but entirely – at their choosing – they can generate as little as 67MW.
And these appropriately termed “grid generation choke points” are not just very brief episodes; over this last week the wind has hardly been blowing in and around Britain at all, both all night and all day.
Since Sunday morning a week ago, all through that day and night, all through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, generation from wind was barely ticking over the meter in the 100mw-300MW range, finally, belatedly ticking up to around 1000MW Friday morning.
So where were the Brits getting their power from?
For starters, a little bit was coming from ultra-wicked coal-fired generation. A little bit in absolute terms, a lot compared with wind.
At that point when all those 11,000 wind turbines were generating all of 67MW, Britain was getting 14 times as much, 981MW, from coal – the coal that our duo of distinguished prime ministerial twittering twerps Kevin and Malcolm were last year celebrating as having been banished into British history.
At that point in time Britain was getting 83 per cent of its grid power from wicked sources: gas (55.4 per cent), nuclear (16 per cent), biomass – burning woodchips and emitting even more CO2 than coal – (8 per cent) and coal (3.4 per cent); with another 16 per cent coming from the six extension cords into European grids which themselves are mostly nuclear and gas and a little coal.
That was, yes, just one moment – ten minutes actually – in time; but right through last week, the wind drought went for the entire week, for 120 hours straight before a few drafts started to kick wind generation up to a still pathetic 1000MW, out of the 30,000MW being demanded on Friday.
Britain’s suicidal march to its supposed all-renewables future is its problem. All, and I mean all, the generation sources that delivered 99 per cent of the power needed when the wind chose not to blow for an entire week came from generation sources which Britain has vowed to close.
On the one hand the wicked CO2-generating coal and gas (and wood chips); on the other, nuclear and the extension cords into similar wicked generators in mainland Europe.
But we have taken our suicidal insanity to the next level.
We are not only going to ditch all the coal-fired generators that have kept the lights so reliably on for a century – and there’s as close to absolute zero of any prospect of non-CO2-emitting nuclear this side of the arrival of those submarines, or the 12th of never, whichever comes first.
And gas? Oh sure; read me another fairy story. Then read it to various state premiers who’ve banned even looking for it.
But worse in our case, just exactly which other country’s grids are we going to plug the extension cords into which have saved Britain from actual blackouts, even while it’s still got massive gas and nuclear generation?
The latest idiot we’ve imported to run our electricity grid – someone named Daniel Westerman, from of all places Britain’s National Grid – has nominated as his signature goal getting our grid able to handle 100 per cent renewables by 2025.
I use the term idiot not pejoratively but constructively and even instructively. Coming as he does from Britain, you would have thought he would understand that the real “challenge” in the fantasyland renewables future we have insanely embraced, is not what you do when wind and solar can give you 100 per cent, but when they choose to give you zero or all-but zero.
If they choose to give you zero for an hour or two maybe you can build enough Tesla batteries and wasteful Snowy Two Dams – the aforesaid Malcolm’s “Big Battery” – to fill the gap.
But there is no way, no way, that batteries could keep a near 100 per cent wind and solar supplied grid running for five days, as was necessitated in Britain this last week.
And no, Daniel, you will discover that even in Australia there are days when the wind ain’t blowing much. Pray it’s not also cloudy on those days.