HS2 and Wind Power

The government plans to invest  £42.5bn to build a high speed train connection between London and Birmingham. The peak electrical power consumption to run 14 trains/hour between London and Birmingham is ~350 MW (HS2 Traction Energy Modelling, Imperial College, 2009).

As I write this post the combined power output from the entire UK fleet of over 4000 on-shore and off-shore wind turbines is just 230 MW – a shortfall of 120MW to run HS2!

Live power contributions to the National Grid at 09-30 of July 7th 2013.

Live power contributions to the National Grid at 09-30 of July 7th 2013.

Lull periods for wind lasting several days are not unusual. They occur at least 3 times every  month. Nor can the problem  be solved by doubling the number of turbines because this amplifies power fluctuations on the grid reducing overall efficiency.
Wind power and HS2 are simply incompatible. This highlights the contradictions inherent in matching government energy policy to its economic policy.

About Clive Best

PhD High Energy Physics Worked at CERN, Rutherford Lab, JET, JRC, OSVision
This entry was posted in Economy, Energy, Science, Technology, wind farms and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to HS2 and Wind Power

  1. do you have any idea why proponents of wind power cannot accept that wind-power died out as a technology in the 19thc? What has changed since then to make wind-power a viable technology?

    • Clive Best says:

      Wind has one sensible human application – Sailing !

      In earlier centuries windmills were used to grind flour and to pump water (the fens in Britain were drained by wind pumps) .

      Before the industrial revolution most transport was by horse and the main fuel was wood. This is Biofuel – another 18th century technology.

      So both key renewable “technologies” are outdated. No modern “wind turbines” can change the laws of physics. To replace 1 coal power station you need to cover 1000 km^2 with wind farms. Even then it won’t work because on the coldest day of the year with clear skies – there is no wind !

  2. Above Suspicion says:

    Clive, Please update this page. Very useful, but investment figure is now out of date. Latest is £50 to £70bn. Oh and we will now have some new Hinckley nuclear to fill the gap ……..

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