Is our present wind fleet really fit for purpose? – Author of new ASI report “Wind Power Reassessed” writes for Conservative Home

Dr Capell Aris, author of the new report Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation”, wrote an op-ed for Conservative Home detailing the findings of the report.

The report, published jointly by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance, severely undermines the case for a move towards more wind generation in the UK because it suggests that wind can never be a major reliable source of energy for the UK. Specifically, the report found that wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 29 weeks a year, and only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year.

As you drive along the M6 in Lancashire, you pass close to a huge, solitary wind turbine. It’s always rotating in even the lightest winds and you might be impressed, thinking that it’s delivering between two and three megawatts (MW) to the national grid. You are wrong!

In my recent paper Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation, published jointly by the Adam Smith Institute and Scientific Alliance, I have gathered nine years of half-hourly wind data from 22 locations across the UK and used this to drive a model wind fleet comprising more than 3,600 modern wind turbines. The wind fleet is thus roughly the same nameplate capacity as the present UK fleet – 10 gigawatts (GW).

The results are disappointing. The output power surpasses 80 per cent of its rated capacity for just 163 hours of the 8,766 in a year—19 per cent of the time. It passes 90 per cent for only 17 hours a year.

Worse still, the power delivered is below 20 per cent of the available for 3,448 hours (20 weeks) per annum, and below 10 per cent for 1,519 hours (9 weeks) per annum.

Read the full op-ed here.

ASI report “Wind Power Reassessed” is featured in The Daily Express and Yorkshire Post

A new report, “Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation“, has been featured in The Daily Express and Yorkshire Post.

The report, published jointly by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance, severely undermines the case for a move towards more wind generation in the UK because it suggests that wind can never be a major reliable source of energy for the UK. Specifically, the report found that wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 29 weeks a year, and only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year.

From The Daily Express:

Experts discovered that turbines break the 90 per cent efficiency mark for only 17 hours a year.

Data showed wind farms generate below 20 per cent of supposed output for 20 weeks a year and less than 10 per cent for nine weeks.

The statistics are in a report by the respected Adam Smith Institute think tank and Scientific Alliance.

The findings follow news that a Lords committee was told relying on wind power would lead to a doubling of energy bills and power cuts by 2030.

Read the full article here.

From the Yorkshire Post:

The study on new data by the Adam Smith Institute and Scientific Alliance says these findings suggest the UK’s energy infrastructure can never be reliant on them in any significant way.

Specifically, the study found that wind farms generate below 20 per cent of their supposed output for 20 weeks a year, and generate below ten per cent for nine weeks a year.

Read the full article here.

 

ASI report “Wind Power Reassessed” is featured in CityAM and Breitbart London

A new report, “Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation”, has been featured in CityAM and Breitbart London.

The report, published jointly by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance, severely undermines the case for a move towards more wind generation in the UK because it suggests that wind can never be a major reliable source of energy for the UK. Specifically, the report found that wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 29 weeks a year, and only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year.

From CityAM:

Despite falling costs and improving technology, wind farms continue to be wildly inefficient and overly expensive, according to a new report released today.

In the report for the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance, author Dr Capell Aris analysed data on the wind speed and direction collected from a total of 22 sites across the UK, with 6.5m individual recordings.

He found that on average, UK wind farms top 80 per cent of their potential output for less than a week every year. It gets worse as, according to the study, wind turbines are only able to produce 90 per cent or more of their potential power output for a meagre 17 hours a year.

Read the full article here.

From Breitbart London:

The report was undertaken by the Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute. Using data on wind speed and direction gathered hourly from 22 sites around the UK over the last nine years, the researchers were able to build a comprehensive picture of how much the wind blows in the UK, where it blows, and how variable it is.

They found that, contrary to popular opinion, variability was a significant factor as “swings of around 10 percent are normal” across the whole system within 30 – 90 minute timeframes. “This observation contradicts the claim that a widespread wind fleet installation will smooth variability,” the authors write.

Read the full article here.

Press Release: Wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 20 weeks a year, a new report finds

  • A new study has found that wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 20 weeks a year, and generate below 10% for 9 weeks a year.
  • Wind farms, on average, only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year.
  • Though the government acknowledges that wind farms produce much less energy than their sticker capacity would suggest, the report shows that even the average production (of around a quarter of capacity) is extremely misleading about the amount of power wind farms can be relied up to provide.

Wind farms are extremely volatile, with outputs fluctuating by five percentage points over short periods of time, a report based on new data by the Adam Smith Institute and Scientific Alliance has found. These findings suggest the UK’s energy infrastructure can never be reliant on them in any significant way.

Specifically, the study found that wind farms generate below 20% of their supposed output for 20 weeks a year, and generate below 10% for 9 weeks a year. Wind farms, on average, only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year.

The paper, “Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation“, looks at previously unexamined wind speed data reported by anemometers located at various airfields, used as a proxy for nearby wind farms, and concludes that UK wind farms, on average, exceed 80% of their supposed output for less than one week every year.

The study also looks at the short-term (30 – 90 minute) variability of wind generation and reveals swings in output are far higher than is normal from conventional energy generation, such as from gas or nuclear plants. Swings of five percentage points of output are not uncommon, which contradicts the claim that a widespread wind fleet installation will smooth variability. There are frequent but unpredictable periods where wind energy generation fails for days on end.

The report will severely undermine the case for a move towards yet more wind generation because it suggests that wind can never be a major, reliable source of energy for the UK. It also suggests that the UK’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint through expanding wind power is misguided. Wind power is so unreliable and intermittent that it makes much more sense to look to nuclear and gas as better low emission alternatives to the status quo.

In his research, the report’s author Dr. Capell Aris looked at 6.5m individual recordings from 22 sites in the UK and 21 from Ireland and the continent.

Commenting on the report, Dr Aris said:

The current reliance on wind energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is inefficient and compromises energy security. Power output of the studied system is below 20% of nominal capacity for over 20 weeks of the year, and below 10% for 9 weeks.

When we study those periods when production falls below 20% of rated capacity, more than three quarters of this occurs in periods longer than 12 hours. Each winter has periods where wind generation is negligible for several days.

The situation across the whole of northern Europe is much the same, so a Europe-wide power grid would provide no extra security; the study demonstrates that interconnectors will not solve wind’s intermittency problem.

Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, Ben Southwood, said:

Wind farms are a bad way of reducing emissions and a bad way of producing power. They are expensive and deeply inefficient and it seems like they reduce the value of housing enormously in nearby areas. We probably do want to reduce carbon emissions, because according to the IPCC global warming will begin to slow economic growth in one hundred years, but nuclear and gas power are our best ways of doing that until cheap and efficient energy storage options are available on a vast scale to smooth the highly variable output of renewables.

Director of the Scientific Alliance, Martin Livermore, said:

This study is a graphic illustration that wind turbines cannot provide a secure supply of electricity, no matter how large the distribution grid.

Notes to editors:

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Communications Manager, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

The Scientific Alliance was formed in 2001 to encourage politicians to make policy on the basis of scientific evidence rather than lobbying by vested interests.