Wind power surge sees renewables outstrip coal

Wind power surge sees renewables outstrip coal

The remnants of Hurricane Bertha may have brought summer flooding and travel disruption to parts of the country, but they have also delivered a boost to the electricity grid as wind power output hit near record highs.

Wind power met almost 16 per cent of power demand this morning, and according to figures from trade body EnergyUK wind met 13.1 per cent of demand over the past 24 hours.

Significantly, the strong performance meant wind power output exceeded coal power, which accounted for 11.3 per cent of supplies. Nuclear met 28.6 per cent of demand and gas dominated the grid, providing 32.5 per cent of supply.

The news follows a series of records for wind power output in the past 12 months and comes hot on the heels of new government figures that confirmed that throughout 2013 nearly 15 per cent of electricity came from renewables, with 7.9 per cent provided by onshore and offshore wind turbines.

The performance also takes output levels close to the records set during last December, when wind energy met 10 per cent of electricity demand throughout the month, peaking at a 17 per cent share on the Saturday before Christmas.

Critics of renewables argue that surges in output caused by weather conditions create problems for the management of the grid and fail to deliver steep emissions reductions as back-up power capacity is still needed.

But National Grid has consistently argued that it can manage high levels of variable renewable energy supplies and the government's most recent figures confirmed that in 2013 the load factors from onshore and offshore wind actually exceeded or equalled that of gas at 27.9 per cent.

In related news, the Financial Times this morning reported EDF has shut down four of its UK nuclear reactors for eight weeks, taking around a quarter of its nuclear generating capacity offline after the discovery of a fault.

The shutdowns at Heysham 1 in Lancashire and Hartlepool relate to a fault in a boiler unit that was discovered during a routine inspection.

A spokesperson for National Grid told the Financial Times that the closures would not impact power supplies, in part because of the strong performance of the UK's wind farm fleet. "Generally demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now," she said.

Source: Business Green

SMART GRID Bulletin July 2017


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