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Sunday, 5 June 2011

WIND POWER: THE MASSIVE INCREASE IN COSTS

I have written how National Grid are going to try to keep the lights on HERE; with an increase in electricity produced by gas, the reduction in peak demand by the widespread introduction of smart-meters, the increasing reliance on power from abroad by the building of new interconnectors and of course, by power cuts.

But how much is this all going to cost us? The answer is one hell of a lot more than we are paying now.

Professor Michael Arthur Laughton is Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Queen Mary, University of London and he is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, currently the UK representative on the Energy Committee of the European Council of Applied Sciences and Engineering (EuroCASE), a member of the energy and environment policy advisory groups of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society and the Institution of Electrical Engineers, as well as the Power Industry Division Board of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has acted as Specialist Adviser to UK Parliamentary Committees in both upper and lower Houses on alternative and renewable energy technologies and on energy efficiency.

It sounds to me like he has the experience and qualifications to knows what he is talking about. He wrote this memorandum for the Economic Affairs Committee. It makes chilling reading.

Memorandum by Professor Michael Laughton

It’s not overly technical and is really quite readable. But what it shows is that the present course of increasing electricity supply from wind energy is going to be an incredibly expensive affair.

We are in for a bumpy ride.

2 comments:

  1. Some very interesting stuff there, Alan.

    Figure 2 is fascinating, showing the variability of the wind power contribution.

    “...the amount of conventional baseload capacity that can be retired is the square root of the wind capacity measured in GW.”

    “These requirements mean that with regard to wind generation alone the requirement for conventional capacity will never be less than the system peak load.”

    “Increased generation costs are not the only cost increases caused by a large addition of renewable power capacity to the national grid, however, because considerable investment in new grid reinforcements will be necessary.”

    “Unlike in other EU countries the National Grid happens to operate basically an island system with sole responsibility for balancing instantaneous power supply and demand and maintaining frequency of electricity supply, voltage control and dynamic stability. Eventually with increasing wind and other generation capacity in the other EU systems the large uncontrolled variations in power produced from such as wind sources can be offset by technical support from neighbouring systems.”

    Those are the ones that caught my eye.

    No doubt there will be a load of people rubbishing the credentials of Prof. Laughton now.

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  2. You know, Alan, there's a very good reason why so many of the most outspoken critics of wind plants (and other related pieces of madness) have the status of Professor Emeritus.

    And it's that they've reached a position where no-one can touch them.

    If you're still active in the profession, your chances of securing research grants are entirely dependent on your toeing the party line.

    Thank god for independent minds like Prof. Laughton! Thanks for posting this. The TGO feature is also quite good, and tragic too. Did you hear what Salmond said at a recent press conference, that the footprint of all wind plants in Scotland is less than a pig farm's? Funny he should mention pigs.

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