Aletho News


How Intermittent Is Wind Power?

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | May 1, 2015


According to Gridwatch, wind power averaged 1901GW during April, some 5.9% of UK total demand. Hardly awe inspiring, but the reality is really far, far worse, as this average hides huge variations within the month, as the chart below makes clear. (The Grid reports at 5-minute intervals).


As the wind ebbed and flowed, wind’s contribution ranged from a low of 79MW, or 0.2% of demand, up to 21.2%. Even within a day, there have still been huge variability, for instance on the 26th:


During the month, less than 1% of demand was being supplied by wind on 789 occasions, i.e. 9% of the time, For 34% of the time, it failed to exceed 3% contribution.

While wind farms are still no more than Mickey Mouse operations within the overall UK mix, the National Grid can cope with this sort of variability. When, however, wind capacity is tripled or quadrupled, as is the plan in the not so distant future, it will be another story.

May 4, 2015 - Posted by | Economics |


  1. What a lot of rubbish.
    Wind power is a waste of money, a blight on inhabitants, and as intermittent as hell.

    Love it or hate it, the UK needs complete reversal of policy back to coal fired stations.

    Stuff the green B.S. I want to be able to turn on my light switch in a year or two to instant light not darkness as is predicted even if the amount of Don Quixote windmills were doubled.


    Comment by thoughtfullyprepping | May 5, 2015 | Reply

  2. Wind is cheap and cheerful and we have plenty of it – coal is a limited resource, the mines have been neglected to the point of unsuitability of use and one day we are almost certainly going to need our coal to make fuel because of the spiraling prices of increasingly scarce oil.

    Wind is erratic but when in glut it could be used to pump hydro back up behind dams for a second pass through the turbines. Like it or not wind is almost certainly here to stay. The real elephant in the room is that over time we need to learn to use less electricity as nation. Having experience of house boats I can say that on even 24 volts you can light, use appliances like tv’s, computers, fridges, heat and cook quite well.


    Comment by patricknelson750 | May 5, 2015 | Reply

    • Actually, oil is increasingly abundant, not to mention natural gas, which is the real resource to beat when it comes to generating electricity.

      Wind may be here to stay, but so are carbon based fuels. University of Michigan research has recently disproved the theory that the earth’s core is iron, the new theory is that we live on a big ball of carbon. Not to mention that we have found microbial life as deep as we drill and it all excretes methane as waste. The estimates of methane hydrates on the sea floors exceed 1,000 years of current global energy use.

      Building reservoirs for pumping water up and down is not only uneconomic but also anti-environmental, the cost to ecology is far too high.

      Until the billions of people that have no access to electric power at all have at least some, we ought not talk about using less. It’s too late for the 15,000 Brits that died over the past winter due to over-priced energy.


      Comment by aletho | May 5, 2015 | Reply

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