What happens to wind power when there is no wind? Why it makes perfect sense that old, polluting and inefficient coal fired power stations should be retained and receive a capacity payment

This note argues that environmentalists will have to recognise that part (and a small price) of the price we pay for creating significant additional capacity of intermittent / variable renewables is the continued existence of coal fired plant, operating at a very low capacity factor. (And of course it will make us less vulnerable to […]

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Using standby diesel generators for short term reserve to support main power grids – potentially good news from National Grid


Hi Dave

Firstly apologies for not getting back to you about Bernard’s note sooner. I read the attached email above with interest as it’s always good to see that there is interest out there in providing Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR, previously known as “Standing Reserve”) from new sources, whether someone is interested in approaching us directly or through an aggregator. I did note that in your last line you said that if contracts could be made available for a longer period of time then this might elicit more interest from parties. On that front there is potentially good news, the changes that we introduced to the STOR contract form a year or two back, allow users to tender for a contract of up to 10 years duration, and as part of the STOR review that my colleague Craig Maloney is undertaking at the moment we may potentially be looking to extend that capability to even longer term contracts.

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What area of wind turbines would be needed in reasonable sites in the UK to in one year generate all UKs power demand?


A 5 MW turbine rotor diameter is 126m ( from the Repower website http://www.repower.de/index.php?id=12&L=1 )

According to Martin Alder, a wind farm owner and developer:

Across wind turbine spacing = 3 x dia (Assume tower to tower)

Down wind turbine spacing = 5 x dia

According to Colin Palmer, of Wind Prospect, a leading wind farm developer, load factors of 30 – 35% onshore, and 40% offshore are readilly achievalbe.

So assume 33%.


Take a 70 mile by 70 mile square. This equals 112 km by 112 km

So downwind, turbine spacing (tower to tower) will be 126 x 3 = 378m. Thus in 70 miles / 112 km we can accommodate (112 x 1000 / 378 ) +1 = 297.3 towers (allowing half blade length to protrude out of area at edges).

Similarly, cross wind, we need 5 x 126 = 630 m. Thus in 70 miles / 112 km we can accommodate (112 x 1000 /630) +1 = 178.8 towers (again allowing half blade length to protrude out of area at edges).

Thus a 70 mile by 70 mile square can accommodate 297.3 x 178.8 = 53,157 turbines..

At 5 MW each, these will generate at peak 265.7 GW.

Assuming reasonable sites and a 1/3 , 33% load factor, this will generate on average 79.73 GW.

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How CERN is encouraged to not do atom or quark smashing, during periods of high demand and low power station availablity, by means of the EJP tarrif

CERN This page is extracted from the official CERN newsletters, shows that even CERN obeys the economic imperatives of the French EJP tariff, designed to force customers to use less power during high demand periods / unavailability of nuclear reactors – lin other words they turn the giant quark smasher off during the unavailablity of […]

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"Nuclear power stations can't load follow that much" – Official

A note from Professor Elliot of the Open University: Nuclear can’t load follow  that much Quotes from EDF’s submission to the UK governments renewable energy staretry consultation: Â Â ‘As the intermittent renewable capacity approaches the Government’s 32% proposed target, if wind is not to be constrained (in order to meet the renewable target), it […]

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