Net Zero Renewable Energy

This December much  of Europe experienced a week long period of “net zero” energy produced by Wind and Solar. Power black outs were only avoided because these grids still maintain large reserves of traditional power generation – Gas, Coal and Nuclear.  The UK basically depends on Gas to regulate the stochastic nature of Wind energy. This is unlikely to change in the medium term.

The essential role of Gas is to regulate Wind power output to meet  Grid demand. At night Gas is switched down and constantly regulated to offset the often erratic output from wind power. Solar power is essentially negligible in winter. Wind energy as shown above includes small “feed-in” wind farms. Click for larger version

The full picture of power balancing for the end of 2021 is shown below. During the “Net Zero” period there were very high prices paid for additional reserve power sources needed to balance the grid.

Power production by fuel type during December. Notice how Nuclear gives a solid reliable base power. Wind can destabilise the fuel mix leading to large fluctuations in pricing and the need for backup reserve power like STOR ( mostly diesel generators).

The UK has passed a law committing us to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and “net zero” carbon emissions by 2050. The first is in 13 years time !

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.

There is not a hope in hell of achieving that without a massive increase in Nuclear Power. This is especially true since we must also electrify all transport and heating. Of course by then Boris won’t be there to take responsibility, and nor will Ed Miliband !

About Clive Best

PhD High Energy Physics Worked at CERN, Rutherford Lab, JET, JRC, OSVision
This entry was posted in Energy, nuclear, renewables, wind farms. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Net Zero Renewable Energy

  1. paul says:

    Hello Clive

    Thanks for your post . I had sent a letter to the PM pointing the fickle nature of wind power months ago. It was registered post so I know his office received it but as yet I have had no reply .

    Current energy policy seems to be based on a hope that the weather stay mild – hope is not a plan so I guess once the brownouts happen we may see some realization of the energy predicament we are in .

    However I am not holding my breath !

    Keep up the good work!



  2. Joe Public says:

    For the month of July 2021, wind generated at an average of just 10% capacity factor.

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