Notes on Recent Wind Power Experience in the UK: Junk Generation

Recently in the UK, the wind hasn’t been blowing enough when customers need the power most.

However, also recently in the UK the wind has been blowing too much. Last December one unit in the UK caught fire and others were badly damaged during a wind storm. Check out the image of the burning chunks of the nascelle, mounted on a 100m tower, being blown down wind. Consider what a reasonable set back is from homes and schools. Ontario requires a 550 meter set back.




  1. Let’s see if I’ve correctly identified the real root of the underlying problem:

    I’ve never yet seen any “new sexy” fashionable apparel or cause remain comfortable for permanent all-occasion wear, in all climates and by everyone, longterm. I doubt anybody ever will.

    The governing brains directing elected bodies must be afflicted with too much ego to enable their acceptance of simple truths, evidenced historically.

  2. Hi, Tom,

    Most interesting, the link to the Forbes article “Why wind doesn’t work”, which proposes that cold snaps in Europe are accompanied by windlessness, implying that makes wind power useless. I thought electricity isn’t a good energy source for heating. Anyway, I sent the article’s link to the British Wind Energy Association and teased them about it, hoping they will tell me what they think.

  3. RE: UK windpower intermittency:
    Ouch! 0.1% of demand. The nameplate capacity must be one or two orders of magnitude greater.

    The solutions to intermittency are widely published:

    Just a personal anecdote – and Tom mentioned this one to me a few years ago – that the Dutch were using electric DHW as a cheap energy sink for tall spikes in wind-power generation. I am about to install a solar DHW system using a standard electric DHW tank – with the elements disconnected (tankless gas DHW as the back-up). It would take a control of the same type that is currently in use for residential AC’s to turn that tank into a cheap winter energy sink.

    The problem outlined at the top is not excess, but rather lack of power – Amory Lovin’s gives his prescription:
    “The variability of sun, wind and so on, turns out to be a non-problem if you do several sensible things. One is to diversify your renewables by technology, so that weather conditions bad for one kind are good for another. Second, you diversify by site so they’re not all subject to the same weather pattern at the same time because they’re in the same place. Third, you use standard weather forecasting techniques to forecast wind, sun and rain, and of course hydro operators do this right now. Fourth, you integrate all your resources — supply side and demand side…”

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