Saturday, 4 November 2017

Flexible capacity to exceed 25GW in the UK by 2030

In the UK, flexible capacity from batteries, peaking plants and demand-side response is set to reach more than 25GW by 2030. That is over half of demand. And the reason is because of renewables :
The firm says the rise of intermittent renewables - which undermine the profitability of large baseload generators but still require backup power - will push annual revenues from flexibility to nearly £3 billion by the end of the next decade.

This is important because this capacity will not be as efficient as baseload generators such as combined cycle gas turbine generators. They will need to respond quicker and as a result they will have higher emissions.  So when the wind is not blowing, the grid operators will have to resort to these fast acting plant or reducing demand. It still remains to be seen how batteries will operate in practice on such a large scale. 

The same is happening here in Ireland. Capacity of demand side response units, usually diesel generators, are now at 260MW.

Full article here:


  1. You are scaremongering. Even I know there is not one source of energy producing electricity at any one time.
    A bigger concern for the grid is a large gas power station suddenly going off line due to an outage. These bloggers with rose tinted glasses never seam to report on that. The information they give out is highly selective and misleading.


    1. There is no need for large amounts of fast acting plant on the grid. The last time Ireland and UK relied on fast acting plant was in the 1960s and 70s when modern technology was not available. Now we have CCGT which is most efficient form of electricity generation. We are moving backwards because of renewables.

  2. There is zero benefit in moving the reimbursement of the PSO levy from the renewable operator to the peaking operator. Just a different snout in the subsidy trough as we avoid addressing the core issue - dispatchability of electricity generation.
    The intermittent nature of renewables is well understood after 30 years of deployment. The true cost of renewables will only be apparent when generation plants are required to host their own peaking plant such that their grid connection is a dispatchable resource.

  3. Combined cycle gas plants are not switched off in stormy weather like junk wind turbines. Incidentally which, junk wind turbines, do not meet the requirements of The Machinery Directive. You also got to remember that as junk wind turbines age they will produce significantly less output causing increased use of diesel generation. At year 6 junk wind turbine output will drop by 50%. The whole wind program is a corrupt farce.

  4. If the wind speed exceeds 90 kilometers per hour in a given area. All wind turbines automatically switch off. Which happens in many storms. Combined cycle gas plant unplanned outage risk is increased significantly by having intermittent fluctuating generation by junk wind turbines. Which do not meet the requirements of the Machinery Directive.

  5. For the benefit of lay readers. The frequency must be kept at 50 hertz, with a tolerance of half a hertz either side. The simplest way to think of it is to consider the fan belt of a car which can slip a little without effecting its operation. Then consider the timing belt of the same car. It cannot be allowed to skip even one cog, any slippage will impact on the timing and any slippage of more than 1 or 2 cogs will damage the engine and cause it to stop altogether. It happened to me once when I was misinformed about a 2nd hand car I bought. I had to walk home.

    A typical coal fired power station would have gangs of generators arranged in rows. As the load increases more of them are ramped up. They are brought to a speed slightly above 50 hertz and gradually switched so the load is applied. As the load bears down the new plant, it is pulled back to the common frequency.

    Any tendency for one frisky generator to race ahead is prevented because, it would have to bear the bulk of the load which it is incapable of doing as the power is limited to the torque of the power source. All plant settles down to equilibrium at 50 hertz. This is sometimes called heavy plant. If it comprises about half the load, other erratic plant can be accommodated, because the steady plant is the majority. As erratic plant becomes the majority it becomes harder to keep the frequency stable.
    Key to understanding this is to understand that the rotors of gangs of heavy generators weigh several hundred tons, whereas the rotors of erratic plant are light. Rectified D/C current to A/C does not have this weight and is kept in the minority. Desperate efforts are being made now to overcome this constraint.

  6. We're listening to a bunch of armchair critics opposed to change.
    They all think the earth is flat, don't recognise climate change and think fossil fuels will last forever. It's getting more expensive to drill deeper for gas and oil, the public are opposed to fracking in their neighbourhoods and renewable energy is hugely popular. The advent of storage and smart meters means baseload will be a non-word in no time.

  7. The logic of the above post is that there are government agencies appointed by elected representatives (or unelected EU officials)(officialdom) and armchair critics (me) and that they are mutually exclusive. Over the last 30 years the United Nations, the EU and other countries have signed up to and legislated for the right of the public to participate in environmental (and other) decision making when all options are open and to have their opinions taken into account. This conflicts sharply with the post of Anonymous of the 15th inst who rejects the notion of public participation and public discussion on important matters which effects the environment and the very same public. The parallels with dictatorship like Zimbabwe, Cuba and North Korea are obvious.

    The very notion that everything which springs from officialdom is progressive, technically advanced, legally compliant and for the common good is suspect in Ireland where these same officials can't provide a police force, have hospital waiting lists equal to 17% of the population. They have government by Judicial Tribunal, a water disaster, a crime crisis, and a housing crisis of monumental proportions.

    So we are to cheer on these officials who came up with the bright idea to increase electricity generation as fast as they can and loading the cost compulsorily on hapless consumers. Meanwhile with 2,500 mW of wind capacity, not one conventional power plant has been shut down. Our co2 emissions are rising (not falling) and diesel generators are flying off the shelves at a rate never seem before.

    What is urgently needed is a duel grid system where consumers can opt for a the cheapest source of power and the others like anonymous can opt to pay for renewables, Put his/her money where his/her mouth is!

  8. According to the Dealer (columnist in the Irish Farmer's Journal), The demand for Diesel tractor powered generators is outstripping supply. Portlaoise based distributor Roland Bradley who is in the business for 45 years says "It's gone bananas". I contacted another distributor to day in the North East and she tells me sales have picked up a lot this year on other years and it shows no sign of slowing down. The power outages resulting from hurricane Ophelia did not effect the North East in the way it effected the midlands so the demand can't be all hurricane driven.

    I disapprove of tractor driven generators because of the need for step down and step up gears and prefer direct coupling between engine and generator.

    The one thing which will destroy the current obsession with high priced, over capacity weather based supply is alternatives. One or two diesel generators with a battery pack and invertor could allow homes, farms and business to go off grid entirely, but a better alternative could be a hybrid approach using the mains for lighting, computers and light usage and generators for milking, welding, drying and other heavy usage,

    Consideration should be given to double wiring of building allowing completely independent systems without the need for special switching and less regulation form mains suppliers. DIY generation is noisy and inconvenient. A hybrid system keeps the noise to day time activities and lets the user take a day or two off without the need to be there to operate the generator.

  9. To finish off the reply to the rant from anonymous (15th inst) suggesting that the drive to renewable generated electricity can in some was abate co2 emissions and therefore combat real or fake climate change, He / she appears to be suggesting that we can dispense with conventional fossil fuel generation and rely on wind. This have failed in Germany and in Denmark. Indeed Eirgrid publish that at least 50% of electricity generation must be from firm capacity. So how can wind displace fuel above 50%. We currently have wind capacity of 2,600 mW in a demand averaging 3,600 mW. We are already over 50%.