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Wind power: Even worse than you thought * The Register

A new analysis of wind energy supplied to the UK National Grid in recent years has shown that wind farms produce significantly less electricity than had been thought, and that they cause more problems for the Grid than had been believed.

The report (28-page PDF/944 KB) was commissioned by conservation charity the John Muir Trust and carried out by consulting engineer Stuart Young. It measured electricity actually metered as being delivered to the National Grid.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 9th, 2011 at 04:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind power: Even worse than you thought * The Register

In general it tends to be assumed that a wind farm will generate an average of 30 per cent of its maximum capacity over time. However the new study shows that this is actually untrue, with the turbines measured by the Grid turning in performances which were significantly worse:

Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 03:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
does anyone else here wonder if these turbine makers are focussing too much on bigger is better?

while as you know i have been a big fan of J's work, and CH's and how windpower is helping incredibly much to lighten our load and respect the earth more, it still is only half the story, imo. without corollary efforts to distribute and decentralise the generation we remain vulnerable to utility companies' price gouging, and even natural disasters, terrorist attacks etc.

these mega windfarms are still reactionary, they point the way, but i think/feel that 'small is beautiful' is a philosophy that will take us better to our goals in the long run.

/ducks

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 04:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The wind is stronger and less turbulent the farther you are from the ground so taller is better.

In addition, you want to separate the turbines by a few multiples of rotor diameter. This means the larger the rotor the less space is taken up on the ground to harvest the same area. So larger is better.

Self reliance is a myth - no man is an island and self-made men owe a lot to the people and institutions that made them.

Economics is politics by other means

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 04:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the rational explanation, it does make sense.
this, however
Migeru:
Self reliance is a myth - no man is an island and self-made men owe a lot to the people and institutions that made them.

seems a bit of a straw man to me.

naturally we all stand on the shoulders of others, and total independence is a myth, however attractive to some people.

my plea is for more balance, and awareness that a decentralised grid is more robust. is that wrong, in your (doubtless better-) educated opinion?

can total dependence on large monopolist-minded entities be always the best way?

(not that you said that, heh)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 06:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not an educated opinion when it comes to grids.

Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 07:39:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there is the curious case of what the high voltage transmission lines did in the night.

(So to speak.)

At $5 to $10 million a mile to transport the power to where it is needed I begin to wonder at the cost/benefit trade off when the supply and demand are 'over the hills and far away' from each other.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 11:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sources, sussed and sorted, now a distributed grid is the next most important.

many rooves make less lineloss. less need for gargantuan ugly pylons, sinister looking transformer farms, and less vulnerable to um, unfortunate accidents.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Apr 12th, 2011 at 06:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now for a comment. Wind is intermittent, even on an annual scale – well duh. When will they do a similar 'study' for hydro? But, even their specific numbers are suspect.

From the report (which was clearly made with the objective to bash wind power):

NG can "see" around 50% of all industrial UK wind generation. There is no reason to believe that wind generation not "seen" by NG performs any more efficiently. Indeed, it is possible that, since all the onshore wind generation in the metered total is presently in Scotland, which is generally windier than the rest of the UK, the "unseen" wind generation may perform less well.

Well colour me unconvinced. I rather rely on official statistics, which put the load factor at 26.9% for on-shore and 33.7% for off-shore in 2009. Preliminary data for 2010 is here, albeit without load factors yet.

  • They mention however a 8% fall of generation from on-shore in 2010 due to low wind speeds in the first half of the year (from 7,564 to 6,979 GWh), but off-shore jumped 75% (from 1,740 GWh to 3,042 GWh), giving an overall growth from 9,304 to 10,021 GWh ( +7.7%).
  • At the same time, capacities grew (on-shore: from 3.483 to 3.959 GW or +13.6%; off-shore: from 941 to 1,341 GW or +42.5%, all together: 4.424 to 5.3 GW or +19.8%).
  • So in 2010, on-shore capacity factors must have dropped while off-shore ones likely rose, and overall dropped by around 11%. The drop in the capacity factor indicated by that study is twice as high. (It all depends on when plants were brought on-line intra-year, though.)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 10th, 2011 at 02:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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