UK Energy Supply

Thats’s nice…

Hydrogen requires a lot more electricity than batteries - very inefficient

Ah ! so it’s not every man for himself.

I think there is a “battery” storage system currently in place somewhere near Leicester. Not sure how powerful it is or how effective it might be. But I think it feeds off and back into the National Grid.

Anyway, batteries or not, the electricity has to be generated first, and wind/solar in the UK isn’t going to achieve the quantities we need, at least so far as I can see. Especially if we have to wait a week or so in the winter with a string of cold frosty calm nights !

Perhaps we simply keep the nuclear stations running at full capacity, pumping water nowhere. No need to worry about running up times. We wouldn’t then need the gas burners ?

I guess that the Gas fired stations emit as much carbon contamination as coal and petrol and diesel. So although we might be sitting on a Gas Field, it’s as attractive to Extinction Rebellion as a coal field or and oil field !

Is RR (and others) still refining their small nuclear reactors ?

Would these help with capacity and/or rapid load demand ?

Not these days they don’t, with the latest carbon scrubbing technology they are remarkably clean.

Thank you for that Mike. Does that mean we don’t need to decommision our Gas burning power stations to meet our self-imposed obligations ?

Is carbon scrubbing effective with coal burning and/or oil burning power stations?

Yes RR & others in many countries around the world are at various stages of development. Russia was the first to get a design operational, but its been withdrawn permanently due to problems, China will start the actual build phase this year, RR & many others have a few years to go.

I understand that the Government has approved plans for Drax to turn two coal-fired generators into gas-fired plants. Four new CCGT with a total capacity of 3.6GW will be installed.

I also understand that ministers had previously been advised to withold consent because of concerns that this change (as opposed to closure ?) could stop the UK reaching its climate change targets.

Perhaps the delays at Hinkley Point C have led to capacity concerns, especially if the take-up of EVs accelerates ?


The average number of hours when 90% of the UKis below the wind speed necessary to generate electricity is 1 hour per year. I presume off shore would be even less.


Boris Dozey, your credentials as a politician are impeccable. I salute you !

A well-chosen snippet of (useless) information that captures the imagination of the casual member of the Electorate.

Now, I imagine that you are far more enlightened about the viability and vulnerability of wind power as a primary source of energy in the UK. Far better than myself and many others on this forum.

What windspeed is typically used when sizing a wind farm ? The output depends on windspeed. The more wind, the more power. I understand that power output is proportional to the Cube of the windspeed. Perhaps i’m wrong with these assumptions and I am more than happy to be re-directed.

However, it seems to me that a wind farm set up to deliver say, 500MW in a wind speed of say, 7 m/s, would only deliver 320 MW in a windspeed of 6 m/s. On the other hand in would deliver almost 750MW in a windspeed of 8m/s.

What can the Grid rely on for the other 8,759 hours in the year, other than the one hour that delivers virtually nothing ?

One of my favourite statistics is “95% of the people who died in the UK last year had eaten tomatoes”

It’s surprising how many people are initially shocked by this very accurate fact !

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Thought provoking post Don. The real point is that a major shift to electricity for transport will be a significant impact; on generation as you say but also transmission and distribution (the Grid). For this reason there will be an emphasis on ‘Demand Side Management’ to use industry parlance. Ultimately this is what Smart Meters are really about, enabling much greater sophistication in electricity ‘tariff’ charging for home users - potentially by the half hour, just as industry does now.

Before you panic, much of this will be automated; for example you might set your electric car charging app parameters for a charge level and time and the car will work out when it’s cheapest to charge it and might even supply some energy to the grid at a peak time - earning you a credit!

In this way impact on generation and the grid will be more limited but still significant.

here is an interesting link to a web page by Drax which charts the generation situation by half hour for anyone who is as sad as me…

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Thanks for your post Bass-Clef, and welcome to the Forum.

Yes, “Smart Meters” are a two-faced delight, IMHO.

The Unique Selling Point is that “you” the customer, can control, or manage, your use of electricity more efficiently. The inplication being that you will save loads of money.

The other side of the face is that “you” the customer will have to manage your use of electricity because the supplier will do everything he possibly can to maximise his take.

In the end, we will all wind up paying a lot more for a lot less. OK, that’s only my prediction. I’m sure there will be many challengers on this forum who can explain lucidly why my prediction is somewhat wide of the mark.

I could engage with your contentious (IMHO) statements, but I’m inclined not to because I fear this would end up being one of those threads that get vanished by the boss as the usual Padded Cell trolls haven’t got politics to distract them now…



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Batteries in power grids are used to stabilize supply in the very short-term. Milliseconds to seconds. In the context of he total energy flow they are trivial, but very valuable in terms of improving the quality and stability of supply because they so very fast in terms of response. The market pays for that stability, and Tesla’s battery farm in South Australia paid itself off in less than a year. Now it’s pure profit.

Electric cars present a fairly benign and smooth load in aggregate to the grid, with charging of individual cars being relatively uncorrelated. They don’t all charge at once, during the day at least. I don’t know whether power-factors are neutral - they need to use a transformer, and this may have some effect. but the vast bulk of charging occurs overnight, during what are off-peak periods. Most home chargers allow for programming of charge times to take advantage of after-midnight power-rates.

The power needs to come from somewhere, but with the accelerating switch to renewables, improving efficiencies, and a fairly slow uptake of BEVs, running out of power isn’t something I stress about.

Why? Getting a BEV was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s an absolute delight. I’m not really a car guy, but our Tesla is BY FAR the best car I’ve ever driven. There’s no comparison.

Wind farm design, justification and optimization is done using complex simulations, based on data collected for the proposed site, as well as a sophisticated model of the grid it would feed. Nearly every aspect affecting the value proposition of a wind farm is non-linear, from power Vs wind speed, to the distribution of wind speed over time, to the pricing mechanisms in the power market. Averages are completely useless in understanding any of this.

Hi David,

I am genuinely unsure whether your post is suggesting that I am a “Troll” or that my post might encourage Trolling.

I’m disappointed that you found my post contentious, even though you have been courteous to accept that is in your opinion. It was meant to be forthright rather than contentious. So much for my use of English lessons !

Threads drift somewhat. My opening post was designed to discover how much power the UK will need in future and whether it will be able to match the introduction of a raft of electric cars, lorries, buses, heating etc all of which the environmental experts are suggesting we need, in order to cope with global warming.

Whilst I appreciate that a change in lifestyle might be associated with a better managed use of electricity - hence smart meters, It is also my opinion that the introduction of smart meters provides a commercial opportunity for the energy suppliers to deliver less in exchange for more money.

Best regards

Winky posted

“Wind farm design, justification and optimization is done using complex simulations, based on data collected for the proposed site, as well as a sophisticated model of the grid it would feed. Nearly every aspect affecting the value proposition of a wind farm is non-linear, from power Vs wind speed, to the distribution of wind speed over time, to the pricing mechanisms in the power market. Averages are completely useless in understanding any of this.”

Thank you for that winky. I agree. Although a bit out of date, the following paper is one that I read some time back. I felt it gave a reasonable insight to some of the complexities of using wind power for generating electricity. The are other papers that I have read or browsed, but I don’t think a catalogue would enhance the style of this forum !

Energy Policy

Characteristics of the UK wind resource: Long-term patterns and relationship to electricity demand

Graham Sinden

Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK