It’s a cold morning here in the UK. The need for energy increases and of course, for those who can afford to, the heating gets turned up.
All too often on frigid days like these the wind tends to drop away. Driving past a wind farm this morning proved the point as all could see the turbines were barely turning – most likely they were consuming power to turn the blades so as to prevent the mechanisms from freezing up. So it seems an appropriate time to see just how the energy needs of the UK are being met and what energy generation sources are deliving the required power.
Those who are transfixed with the emission of carbon dioxide helpfully assist us in tracking the power that is being generated, with a smartphone application. This is a screenshot of it (updated shortly after 09:30).
And it clearly shows the unreliability and intermittent nature of wind power, which a short while ago was contributing less than 1% of the UK’s power needs. Despite the billions of pounds of ‘investment’ and the determination to bring about a renewables revolution to reduce our reliance of fossil fuels, when power is most needed, the turbines are failing to deliver. This is not a one-off example of such a failing. In the US last year, during hot weather when power is sought for cooling systems and fans, wind wasn’t there when it was needed.
This issue comes to the fore against the backdrop of a report apparently from the pressure groups Unlock Democracy (UD) and the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) – which includes the likes of E.On and Scottish Power – that declares the decision to accept new nuclear power stations is corrupt because it was made without all the evidence being presented to Parliament. The report argue that far from the lights going out in the future, enough energy saving measures can be realised to negate the need for new nuclear and that the costs of nuclear power will be far higher than other generation methods.
While the groups claim they are neither for nor against the decision to have new nuclear capacity the report is clearly biased against nuclear, as its authors Ron Bailey and Lotte Blair are both prominent campaigners for the group No Need for Nuclear (NNfN). Indeed, a look at the NNfN website shows it is actually their report and it has simply been published on their behalf by UD and ACE. Nothing like a bit of transparency, eh?
Unsurprisingly these people ignore the fact that nuclear can provide the most reliable baseload energy – and will be needed to do so as coal fired power stations are closed down without being replaced, increasing population drives up energy demand, and more technology increases the need for electricity – while on far too many days of the year wind power contributes virtually nothing to the grid.
Energy saving measures cannot do nearly enough to prevent an energy gap emerging, and wind power is shown yet again to be an expensive folly that empties our wallets in return for providing a miniscule fraction of our energy needs.