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Tag Archives: integration

In praise of wind power

By Dave Elliott

This year has seen yet more negativity on wind power, and proposals to cut support for on -land wind, despite this being the cheapest of the major new renewables. While overall public support for the use of wind energy remains high, in practice many new on-land projects are now opposed: two thirds of applications have been turned down in the last year. Much of this has been about visual intrusion, ‘Not In My Back Yard’ concerns relating to  treasured views and, more prosaically, possible impacts on house prices. (more…)

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Beyond pessimism

by Dave Elliott

One of the justifications for the UK government plan to expand the use of nuclear power is the assertion that energy demand will double in the decades ahead. That seem a little odd given that DECCs statistics show that in 2011 electricity consumption went down by 3.3% and gas use fell by almost 20%, while renewable generation expanded, albeit from a low level, by 33%. Renewables seem likely to continue to expand, given that the UK has amongst the EU’s (if not the world’s) best renewable energy resources, even if we have not developed them much yet.  As then Tory Energy minister Charles Hendry said at the opening of the annual All Energy conference in Aberdeen last spring, ‘It is shameful that with some of the strongest winds and highest tidal reaches in Europe, the UK is currently third from bottom in the whole of the EU in its use of renewables.’   He was removed from office a few months later.

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Tidal energy and grid balancing

by Dave Elliott

There has been a renewed push for a Severn Tidal Barrage, but, as I have reported in earlier posts, many saw it as too big to fund and too invasive to allow. Dr Nicholas Yates from the National Oceanography Centre, who has carried out the research with a team at Liverpool University, has backed smaller barrages, which he suggested could supply 15% of UK electricity. He  told the BBC: ‘I think it’s unfortunate that attention for tidal range has tended to focus on the Severn, it’s the wrong place to start, it’s too big. Start small, it’s what the Danes did with wind – start small, learn quick and build up.’

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Electric grid flexibility and costs of integrating wind and solar

By Carey King

This week I’m at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 5th Annual Engineering Sustainability conference.

As indicated by Paul, the limit of system flexibility in the grid will limit integration of renewable generation before pure capacity constraints will occur. This is because the renewable generation will begin to get curtailed before load mathematically exceeds the capacity on the grid due to the fact that the combination of dispatchable sources (hydropower, nuclear, coal, and the various natural gas prime movers) will run into difficult economic choices regarding staying on at minimum levels. That is to say, thermal generators, primarily nuclear and coal, are not inclined to turn completely off at some point during the day and then come back online during another part of the same day (or 24-hr period).

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