When will we realise it’s madness to rely on wind?
ONCE again, for almost all of this past week, renewables have been failing
us and the UK and Scotland on several days were heavily importing
electricity to keep the lights on and infrastructure running.
At breakfast this morning (08.20, January 18) gas was providing the UK with
25GW, which was 57% of demand, equivalent to the previous output of 10
Six of our 10 ageing nuclear reactors are shut down, four due to steam
valve failure and related testing and those will not restart until the end
of January, early February.
We have been running coal 24/7 for all of the week.
Wind generation had almost collapsed for the umpteenth time this past week,
providing only 13.8% today from an installed capacity equivalent to 75% of
this morning’s demand with Europe’s entire offshore generation, including
the UK, only meeting 2.5% of European demand. Solar was producing 0% as it
is a late riser and generally unable through much of the year to support
daily UK industry start-up.
Almost all UK gas generating stations are owned by overseas companies, with
Uniper of Germany, which owns seven, last year reporting a Euro 40bn net
loss. This was the biggest loss in post-war German corporate history.
Fourteen per cent of our gas comes from Qatar, which today confirmed
shipments will cease via the Suez Canal, implying that deliveries will be
delayed. The UK has the lowest gas storage capability of the major European
countries at only a few days compared to Germany at 89 days, France at 103
and the Netherlands at 123.
This morning French nuclear was supporting much of Europe, supplying the UK
with 3GW, which matched the loss from our six closed reactors, while
dispatching 3GW to Germany, 2GW to Switzerland and 3.3GW to Italy.
Yes, the UK last week issued the Civil Nuclear Roadmap 2050 with the
ambition of providing 25GW of nuclear generation in support of net zero
while stabilising the renewables-weakened grid. Bearing in mind that EDF
will be retiring all of the present UK nuclear reactors bar one by 2030 and
that the Chinese are believed to be withholding recent payments on their
Hinckley Point C joint venture with them, this looks a very challenging
road indeed.
As a chartered electrical engineer I remain dismayed but unsurprised to
find a prominent website bearing the word “green” this morning advising the
general public that “the UK Government has set a goal to quadruple offshore
wind to produce 40,000MW by 2030 from 2020 production levels. This would
sufficiently power every UK home with offshore wind in 2030.”
What absolute nonsense, as clearly demonstrated by this week’s figures: a
situation that occurs regularly throughout the year.
The UK wind industry claims on the one hand that the UK dominates the
offshore wind market, owning a quarter of the present total global
portfolio, but appears to have successfully convinced our
technologically-illiterate politicians to increase Contracts for Difference
in the recent fifth round of renewables auction by 66% – having first,
collectively, refused to bid for any.
Lenin is quoted as saying “Every society is three meals away from chaos”.
MI5 is quoted as advising that society “is four meals away from anarchy”.
DB Watson, Cumbernauld.

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