When it is needed the most the wind don’t blow

Russ Steele

One of the issues of alternative energy is availability when it is needed. The UK is having a huge cold spell and people are dying from the cold. They could use some wind energy, that they have invested billions in, but it not blowing.

Britain reels from a winter death rate twice as high as some of the world’s coldest countries, according to the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said the average increase in winter deaths in England and Wales is 1,560 per week compared to non-winter months, with a “substantial” increase on top of that total expected due to extreme cold this week.

A death total close to 2,000 is expected, working out at 285 per day – one death every five minutes.

This came in over the e-mail transom from Dixon this morning:

The Autonomous Mind writes after observing a idle wind farm on his drive this morning

And it clearly shows the unreliability and intermittent nature of wind power, which a short while ago was contributing less than 1% of the UK’s power needs.  Despite the billions of pounds of ‘investment’ and the determination to bring about a renewables revolution to reduce our reliance of fossil fuels, when power is most needed, the turbines are failing to deliver.  This is not a one-off example of such a failing.  In the US last year, during hot weather when power is sought for cooling systems and fans,wind wasn’t there when it was needed.

This raises the question, when California needs wind energy the most is on those hot summer days when cooling is vital. The heat is most likely the result of a calm high pressure systems that has settled over the state. Stable high pressures does not generate much wind power for those critical AC units. Are we fooling ourselves?


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 Responses to When it is needed the most the wind don’t blow

  1. sean2829 says:

    I think you comments about the British wind experience is consistant with what I’ve heard. I’d be curious how the Europe is doing keeping up with demand since the Germans are in an even deeper freeze with little wind or sunshine. My guess is that the French nuclear reactors are running flat out. I wonder how many people will freeze in their homes, refusing to turn on the heat because it’s so expensive. (Germans pay 3x more than we do for power.) Then what happens when the utility bills arrive. It will be very interesting to see if the Europeans show a little more restlessness than usual with their governments as a result.
    Russ, I don’t know the weather that well in Northern CA but I do recall the summers in the LA basin. On normal days, heat and sea breezes went hand in hand because the inland valleys warmed, causing the air to rise and and a gentle breeze off the Pacific soon followed. This was pretty typical in the summer so I am wondering if California, particularly the southern part of the state, might be better suited to take advantage of the prevailing weather and wind patterns. The only thing I see wrong with the scenario is the the breeze seem to peak late in the afternoon prior to the peak in electricity demand that occurs when people get home from work.

  2. Dixon Cruickshank says:

    Russ that seems to be an active app – it has chnaged since I sent it – it was .9 when I looked

    have fun with it

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