British study shows wind power generates only 2 percent of rated capacity

wind-energyA new study by The Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute claims that electricity generated by wind turbines throughout the UK is only two percent of the combined turbine rated capacity.

“This study provides a rigorous quantitative assessment of wind variability and intermittency based on nine years of hourly measurements of wind speed on 22 sites across the country.” The researchers obtained wind data and calculated how much electricity would have been produced from modern wind turbines. They had to do the study this way because the wind industry does not make actual production figures public even though the industry is heavily subsidized by taxpayers.

Results of the modeling shows that power output from wind turbines would have the following pattern over the period of one year (8760 hours):

Power exceeds 90 % of available power (rated capacity) for only 17 hours per year.

Power exceeds 80 % of available power for 163 hours.

Power is below 20 % of available power for 3,448 hours (20 weeks).

Power is below 10 % of available power for 1,519 hours (9 weeks).

“Although it is claimed that the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK, the model reveals this ‘guaranteed’ output is only sufficient to generate something under 2 % of nominal output.”

“Long gaps in significant wind production occur in all seasons.”

“The preceding deficiencies suggest the model wind fleet would require an equal sized fossil fuel generation fleet operating alongside it, especially during winter months.”

“…the model wind fleet reveals wind energy production is unlike that of all conventional fossil fueled or pumped storage plants; it does not follow grid demand on diurnal or even seasonal time patterns. Wind generation will therefore make heavy claims on the UK’s response and reserve market.”

See full report here.

The rationale of replacing fossil fuel generated electricity with wind or solar generation is that it will decrease dependence of foreign sources and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. But, in a 2011 study, Richard York of the University of Oregon studied the use of alternative energy in 130 countries to assess the contribution of various forms of non-fossil fuels. The study showed “that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity.”

A 2010 M.I.T. study found that wind farms raise the local temperatures by almost two degrees F and raise electricity prices because the wind farms require expensive backup generation.

See also on my Wryheat blog:

Wind turbines versus wildlife

Wind turbines killed 600000 bats last year

Big Wind gets “get out of jail free card” from Obama Administration

Winds farms decrease weather radar ability to track storms