Wind Energy Smashes UK Electricity Share Record
Wind turbines met 22 per cent of power demand on Sunday 17 Aug 2014, while coal contributed just 13 per cent. Yesterday’s high winds may have been frustrating for anyone out and about, but they also helped set a new record for wind power on the grid.
According to RenewableUK, Britain’s fleet of onshore and offshore wind turbines met 22 per cent of electricity demand during Sunday 17 Aug 2014, setting a new record, comfortably outperforming coal, which met just 13 per cent of demand.
Nearly 5.8MW of wind power was generated, which is equal to the power demand of 15 million homes, the trade association said.
August 2014 already looks set to be a particularly strong month for the UK wind energy industry, with reports confirming wind turbines also met 21 per cent of demand last week as the UK felt the tail end of Hurricane Bertha.
“We’re seeing very high levels of generation from wind throughout August 2014 so far, proving yet again that onshore and offshore wind has become an absolutely fundamental component in this country’s energy mix,” said RenewableUK’s director of external affairs, Jennifer Webber. “It also shows that wind is a dependable and reliable source of power in every month of year – including high summer.”
The latest figures also confirmed that solar power provided three per cent of power on the grid yesterday, while hydroelectric plants produced one per cent.
Constraint Payments – (A Temporary Measure)
Critics pointed out that the National Grid is forced to pay wind turbines millions of pounds to switch off on windy days in order to balance out demand. Last week, it paid wind developers £2.8m and £1.1m to other generators in balancing payments at the time high winds coincided with a period of low demand.
Constraint payments are necessary but will be much reduced following upgrades to the national electricity network, such as the Western Link – a £1bn subsea cable that will bring renewable energy from SCOTLAND to the rest of the UK
Yesterday’s record is the latest in a string of strong performances across Europe for the renewables industry over the past 12 months. Recent data has suggested that Germany and Spain have also delivered record levels of clean energy output in the past six to 12 months, as surveys across Europe have also demonstrated high levels of public support for renewable energy.
Never mind oil, Scotland is the leading renewable clean energy producer in Europe. The UK electricity grid is dependent upon Scotland’s clean electricity and this dependency is expected to increase to around 50% by the year 2020.
A, “Yes” vote in the referendum will ensure Scotland benefits directly from the income generated by electricity production. A, “No” vote will result in the UK National Grid claiming production as a national asset, (to be controlled by Westminster). A yes vote is the only sensible way forward.
The Inefficient UK National (Electricity Supply) Grid
The electrical grid is viewed by the public as a natural and strategic asset. As such it is, in the view of many, totally unsuited to the pressures of market forces. But if a market is to operate then application of variable transmission costs make sense.
Electricity transmission loss in transfer forms a small part of overall electricity loss. The real problem with the grid is capacity crunch. The lack of a transmission cable from the islands to the Scottish mainland brings with it reduced amounts of electricity transfer from the North of Scotland. Supply of electricity to the grid is therefore rationed and this brings with it increased transmission costs. In England there is a lot of demand, but not much generation. The installation of an electrical supply cable link from the islands to the Scottish mainland, (regardless of the outcome of the referendum) is crucial to the future of the National Grid.
The option of expanding Coal, Gas and Nuclear power stations, (using lease lend contracting) funded, designed, built and operated, using foreign finance and workforces may appear to be attractive and cost effective over electricity but fossil-fuels and nuclear have been indulged for far too long on cleaning up their long-term residual mess and when the cost of this is factored in renewable energy is by far the more cost effective.
A recently published, (heavily biased) OFGEM report is very positive about the use of renewable energy, but not at this time. Entirely due to a lack of forward planning by Westminster governments, short term measures are considered necessary, in England. The Con/Dem government is determined to expand nuclear production, (although the preferred options would breech EU financial rules). The Department of Energy and Climate Change, (DECC) is undecided and a government funded and staffed, (blinker wearing) policy think tank strongly believes in market forces, but only so far as nuclear is good and renewables are bad. So the future of UK renewable energy looks bleak.
Scotland is rich in renewable energy production and does not need to commit to the Westminster governments dogma. But a, “No” vote will bring with it the introduction in the next parliament of a, “National UK Energy Production Policy Unit” which will direct the development of ALL energy production within the UK, (including Scotland). All that has been achieved in Scotland will be set aside in favour of the pursuit of nuclear power expansion. But there is remedy available, vote, “Yes” in the referendum so that Scotland will be able to continue the good works in place and planned. We do not need to follow a lead to destruction.