Since the start of last week (Monday, June 8) we have once again experienced the progressive collapse in output of the UK windfleet.
With an installed measured windfleet capacity equivalent to 35 per cent of the UK demand last week, wind generation in the pleasant weather steadily fell from a very low 5.6 per cent of our needs on the Monday at breakfast to 2.92 per cent at 8pm on the Friday – an output of only eight per cent of the windfleet’s capacity.
It is routine for professional engineering design contractors/consultancies to conduct “cold eyes” reliability assessments as their project designs develop because performance guarantees are customarily part of their contract obligations and carry financial liabilities.
As a chartered engineer I have contributed to/assisted in many rigorous engineering review sessions to this purpose.
These assessments seek also to establish the “Defining Case” that determines the most probable cause of performance failure.
Such assessments will have been addressed within the energy industry and I am sure they are aware of the risks but they carry little liability under privatisation.
Wind turbines do not increase the energy security of theUK.
Three of the primary performance reliability challenges of increasing wind penetration in our grid, all of which are major threats, are maintenance of frequency when generation unpredictably and quickly rises and falls by large amounts, maintaining reactive “wattless” power to prevent voltage collapse and thirdly, maintaining synchronism between generators under fault situations and resultant wind turbine drop outs from the network.
But the “Defining Case”, by far, in determining the probability of grid failure is the incidence of sustained collapse or near collapse of the UK wide windfleet output . We have already had numerous and frequent instances since December last year due to normal high pressure weather events including, cumulatively, almost two weeks of April.
Whilst the wind energy representative bodies such as Scottish Renewables and groups such as WWF are quick to boast about higher output months like May, the overarching wind power reliability Defining Case will always be recurring, sustained, output collapse.
Storage of the huge levels of energy from wind required to compensate for its frequent output collapse is presently and will remain a physical and financial pipedream and as last week’s data confirms yet again it also remains a myth that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK.
Saviskaill, Langdales Avenue, Cumbernauld.
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