UK Wind Energy Resource: Variability, Intermittency and Dispersal

Comments from the CLOWD website:

The Government has been misled in the past by the wind energy industry into believing that wind turbines offer a viable method of producing energy. The variability and intermittency of wind energy has been underestimated because the wind statistics used have been unscientifically and misleadingly presented. The paper ‘UK Wind Energy Resources (Variability, Intermittency, Dispersal)’ shows the more realistic situation for mainland UK and in particular the situation that is likely to occur should wind farms be built inland far from the coast and at relatively low elevation.

Additional Comments from the CLOWD website (available via link below):

It is essential that scientifically accurate wind speed data be put into the public domain. This could be done via an exercise using recent Met Office data; this has not been done to date. The paper is intended to be a pointer towards this process.

The other alternative is to seek from the windfarm companies the data coming from the many anemometer masts which are positioned around the country. There is no known case where this data has been made available to third parties. The Government is able to make it a prerequisite that information from these installations is given to local planners before a decision is made, and to other decision makers.

The solution to our energy problems will come from pursuing a variety of technologies: obviously, we can start an energy saving campaign which would be the most immediate and effective way of reducing our energy consumption.

In addition, there is the potential to clean up existing technology, there is carbon sequestration and nuclear power, and the very much under funded and underrated situations with regard to combined heat and power, and micro generation. A combination of these last two technologies at an individual factory or home level or community level should be the way energy is produced and consumed in future.

The need for an extensive distribution system will not be necessary and the current proposals to reinforce the grid system will be rendered redundant. This also offers a route to third world countries to avoid having to erect ‘dirty’ plants and install an unnecessary distribution system at great expense.

The UK could give an important lead in micro technology which would have an effect beyond just the UK and could help to reduce the world output of carbon dioxide and other green house gasses.

The paper referred to above is intended to relate solely to onshore mainland wind resources but, necessarily, reference has been made to offshore facilities in order to understand quoted average production figures that cover both onshore and offshore.

Nevertheless, the British Wind Energy Association’s Report ‘Offshore Wind: At a Crossroads’, April 2006, makes interesting reading. The only analogy that comes to mind is of the child throwing all its toys out of the pram. Basically, it seems to be saying that whilst there are schemes licenced these may not be implemented unless additional funding is put their way.

One of the items mentioned in outlining the need is the unexpected unreliability of newly installed turbines. Is the consumer or our government expected to subsidise already subsidised Danish turbine manufacturers where design and manufacturing faults have given rise to significant problems?

Perhaps the answer is as BWEA says that offshore production is currently uneconomic but what does this say about inland onshore potential where wind speeds are at least half those of good offshore sites?

The Government should expect, if planning permissions are granted for inland sites, that there will be a new BWEA paper called ‘Onshore Wind: At another Crossroads’.

There is one fact blowing in the wind, namely wind generated electricity is too expensive, as is being acknowledged in many countries on the Continent.

Uk Wind Energy Resource

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MAR 6 2006
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