Running out of wind

Despite recent windy weather, especially in Scotland, it appears that average wind speed for the UK has declined. This is related to the position of the jet stream and sun spot activity. The long-term forecast is for this trend to continue. This not exactly positive for the wind farming industry. Will this change policy? Lobbying groups are too entrenched and the subsidy machine is in full swing. Today’s Telegraph.

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12 thoughts on “Running out of wind”

  1. I think wind speed has increased in places, Robin. And the overall decrease is part of a cycle which will resolve itself in the next 4 years (going by some computer models).

    It’s nothing new and all weather related. Having read the article and knowing what I know and understand with the weather – it all seems to be a bit of a storm in a tea cup 😉

    The winds dropping over the past 2/3 winters is old news and expected to continue for another 3 winters at least, for example.

    1. I wonder how much electricity the turbines produced in the recent gales. I imagine they must have been shut down, otherwise they might have taken off! 🙂

    2. “And the overall decrease is part of a cycle which will resolve itself in the next 4 years (going by some computer models).

      It’s nothing new and all weather related. Having read the article and knowing what I know and understand with the weather – it all seems to be a bit of a storm in a tea cup”

      Terry – That is the biggest load of rubbish I have read in ages. Investors in wind energy are a very fickle lot – some are already moving out of the smaller plants and selling them off, as they know that the price of ROC’s will be dropping so that the older smaller installations will soon be making a loss. This will leave a whole load of windfarms in limbo and the larger investor (that’s you and me & our pension funds) in a rush to exit wind.

      Wind has “underperformed” (if that is the right term for not having blown enough) for virtually every year the turbines have been up and investors are now looking at individual load factors of every wind power plant to see when the likely date of economic cross over from profit (generated by subsidy, remember) to loss will occur. They don’t give a monkey’s toss about whether or not the situation will improve – all they want is Return On Investment and if it isn’t likely to come they will dump it.

    1. They must be completely mad. Wind power can never be a predominant source of power. The only way it can be made to work is through battery storage, which would be HUGE. This is policy mistake that will wreck Germany as a major econnomic power.

  2. Robin,

    As someone with a well above average grasp of economics do you really believe that Germany will cease to be the pre-eminent economy in Europe because of this? It’s not just about wind. i think they will look massively into carbon capture, thay have massive coal reserves and a large thermal plant capacity from it. But undoubtedly they will innovate in other areas and gain huge market advantage. This will start a massive R&D investment in the technologies which will make them even more money.

    I actually don’t believe i just typed that – I sound like my Brother in law who is in marketing – as an engineer i just expect everything to fail! 🙂

    1. As a country with a large manufacturing base, relative energy costs are very important. If they are significantly higher than competitor countries either they will lose business or production will be relocated. Next stop for the Greens will be to attack coal fired power as it is dirty. They will also oppose shale gas. Germany will be competing in the world economy with one (or two) hands tied behind their back.

  3. Possibly. But they have the advantage of being in aposition to exert a strong influence on Europe to follow their lead. wait for the new EU Directives to start getting proposed.
    Coal is dirty but if they can make the technology work it may be, in the medium term at least, acceptable to the greens.
    imho opposition to shale gas as it presently stands is not a bad thing.

    1. Energy costs are very important economic input cost. Significant rises in energy costs inevitably cause slower growth or recessions. Interesting that developing nations are pushing hard with nuclear programmes. This could further improve their competitve positions. It’s bizarre that a nuclear accident, which was caused by an event that is very unlikley to be repeated in Germany and caused next to no casualties has produced such an extreme reaction from the Germans. Quite extraordinary! Nuclear is the only logical interim “green” solution to the world’s energy needs.

  4. There is already a broad moratorium on building new wind power plants in both Germany & Denmark as they have been found to destabilise the National Grids of both countries.

    Over here, we are building new sub-English channel power links to France (there are already links to France Belgium & the Netherlands) so that as wind becomes more of a problem to our own Grid we will be taking back-up power from these other countries – and guess what? It’s Nuclear generated power that we will be importing…

    Big industrial users of electricity are already lobbying our government strongly that by increasing the subsidies to wind by ROC’s is hamstringing their businesses and they will likely be taking them overseas where the energy market is not skewed in favour of wind.

    Industry will eventually ‘do’ for wind. Not protests on hilltops, I am afraid.

  5. Not so sure your completely right there Alan. The Dutch have very small nuclear capacity, 1 old plant with a plan to build a second on the same site. They actually import energy from Germany – usually nuclear.
    A quick look at the national grid website and as i type we are exporting power to Ireland, France and the Netherlands, it’s far from all one way traffic.

  6. Wurz, it wouldn’t be bad if you declared your vested interest in this matter upfront. You work in the wind business. Be honest and make everyone aware of which side your bread is buttered, will ya. And you’re known to pick up made-up data at the drop of a hat. I wonder how much your employers pay you to infest outdoor website in defence of wind plants.

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