More wind farms, or more reliable sources of renewables.

With the talk of easing planning for on-shore wind farms, and with “Greens” pushing for less reliance on fossil fuels or nuclear, even more emphasis is being placed on wind as a major source of energy.  A look at Gridwatch shows that there has been only minor contribution of wind to the UK Grid Demand since August 23rd.  Fortunately, at the moment demand is fairly low and solar has made a contribution during the day but that is not always the case.  Is it not time that much more investment is made into more reliable sources of renewables, we seem to be working ourselves into a corner?

  • Well offshore wind is now too expensive.

    Offshore wind auction fails to attract any bids - BBC News

    Maybe it was always more expensive and the low strike prices were politically driven. 

  • If offshore windfarm is too expensive what about inshore like the ones around Zaragosa in Spain?

  • it s not really too expensive or at least it depends how you count it- most folk are paying 20-30 p per KW hour at the moment for gas generated power ~That is £200-300 per megawatt hour, so suggesting less than 20% of that is generation cost and  80% is distribution costs, is probably not reasonable.


  • Do the wind turbines have battery storage?  If so it it large enough.  If not, why?

  • Do the wind turbines have battery storage?

    Some do.  Most don't.

    If so it it large enough.  If not, why?

    Mostly not.  Batteries are too expensive at the moment.  Cheaper ones are being developed.

  • Surely putting in a battery systems in wind turbines that are already established must be a lot cheaper than installing a new turbine and also it allows the energy to be stored thus giving a smoother power distribution to the grid.  It would also allow for starage of the power when there is less wind or no wind.  This means that less energy from wind generation is wasted.  This is akin to have Solar PV on a building with no battery knowing full well that the highest demand is in the evening from a EV. 

  • I think you underestimate the size weight and cost of a battery that can store the output of a decent sized wind farm for any reasonable no of hours, say a day...

    You need perhaps a few gigawatt hours of capacity to be useful, and this relatively little installation (50Mwatt hours) near Oxford needed about 60 shipping container sized  boxes full of battery and associated control electronics.

    Project cost about £40 million, not sure how that scales as there were other things like transmission network upgrades in that cost as well. However to assume giga pounds per giga watt hour is probably not utterly unreasonable.

    'pylon legs for scale'. Not sure how easy it would be to put many of these out to sea with the turbines, or on the land where the cables come ashore.

    (formal report with more data here  from page 94 onward. Includes models  of battery voltages (P104) life against various use cases.-P100, )


  • There's no particular reason why the battery needs to be in the turbine.  Or even very near to it.  The whole lot is connected to the grid, after all.  So building a big battery bank near the substation where the wind turbines connect to the grid would work fine.

    It would need a lot of batteries to do any good.  Maybe 10's of MWh per wind turbine.  That's 4 orders of magnitude bigger than the battery sitting in my loft.  It may turn out that one way to dump excess electricity is to make hydrogen, or some other fuel, that you can burn later.

    The economics of wind power are such that you have to massively over-build.  Because it's not windy everywhere all the time.  But wind turbines are now cheap, so that's the way you do it.

  • So building a big battery bank near the substation where the wind turbines connect to the grid would work fine.

    With battery stations connected to the grid the viability of wind power is greatlty enhanced.  I assume this would also apply to solar PV.

    Hopefully we will start to see these appearing across the UK very soon.  With some careful planning this could also help with bottlenecked 400kv HV lines like from Scotland to England

  • Already happening, eg:-

  • Thank you Roger for the links

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