Tag: windfarms

Spain gets 53% of its energy from wind!

Record Spanish Wind Energy

Ok, not all the time, but last weekend at 5:50am on Sunday morning (8th Nov) Spain set a new record, hitting 53.7% of its energy requirements being supplied by wind energy.

As you can see from the graph above, the amount of electricity being supplied by wind, the light green portion of the graph, doesn’t go below 30% at any point in the 24 hours and is closer to between 40-50% for most of the time!

These are figures the world’s most ambitious countries are targeting hitting by 2020, at the earliest!

Notice also on the graph that the contribution from coal (the red band) during this period is in the low single digits, never rising above 6.4%.

And finally notice also that for a lot of the period significant amounts of generation is below the 0MW line – this occurs when the electricity is being either stored using pumped hydro storage, or being exported for sale on the international markets.

The Guardian reporting on this quoted José Donoso, head of the Spanish Wind Energy Association

“We think that we can keep growing and go from the present 17GW megawatts to reach 40GW in 2020,” he told El País newspaper.

Windfarms have this month outperformed other forms of electricity generation in Spain, beating gas into second place and producing 80% more than the country’s nuclear plants.

Experts estimate that by the end of the year, Spain will have provided a quarter of its energy needs with renewables, with wind leading the way, followed by hydroelectric power and solar energy.

The graph above is taken from the site of the Spanish grid operator Red Electrica de España (REE).

The REE website has highly detailed and extremely interactive infographics produced using Adobe’s Flex software:
Real-time (and historic) demand, along with generation structure and CO2 emissions
Real-time (and historic) structure of electricity generation (the graph above is taken from this page) and
Demand curves over intervals of time


No James, we Irish are not complete gobshites

Or if we are, it is not for the reasons James thinks! James Corbett has a post today on his blog asking “Are we Irish complete gobshites?“. The post is lamenting the fact that we are not building wind farms to reduce our dependence on oil imports.

I would answer James in the comment section on his blog but

  1. the answer is complex and
  2. he has deployed a CAPTCHA on his blog which means commenting there is a pain 😛

I have talked about this in several of my talks about reducing ITs carbon footprint.

There are >2gW of outstanding applications for windfarms to come onto the electrical grid in Ireland. To put that in context, we typically use around 4.5gW of power in Ireland (fluctuating day/night and summer/winter, obviously). However, these applications are being held at bay by eirgrid, the grid management company.

Why are they holding these applications at bay? Are they rabidly anti-green? Maybe they are pro climate-change? No, the reason Eirgrid don’t want any more wind power on the grid is because it de-stabilises the network.

Consider the following scenario. It is 2am. Electricity demand across the country is at its lowest. There is a 40mph wind blowing across the country. Wind energy at this point can be supplying up to 30% of the country’s demand.

What happens now if the wind picks up to 50mph? The wind farms shut down to protect their mechanisms and suddenly Eirgrid are left scrambling trying to bring gas turbine stations online to meet the sudden fall-off of 30% of their supply. Gas turbine stations can take up to an hour to reach full generation capacity.

The more windfarms Eirgrid take onto the network, the greater a problem this becomes. Unless there was some kind of ready counter-balance to the instability of wind farms…