The NAEE weekly round up reports new research published by RenewableUK shows the total planned capacity of the UK’s offshore wind projects now stands at 86GW. It is more than eight times the current operational capacity (around 10.5 GW) and over two and half times the typical maximum electricity demand. It is larger than that planned by China (75 GW). Sounds good.
I wrote the above on a cold afternoon in March when wind was contributing only 1.4GW – 3.8% – to the country's electricity need which totalled around 38GW. Even solar was producing more: 2.2GW – 5.8%.
It's fair to say, therefore, that were all the planned 86GW in place, other things being equal, we'd be getting ~40% of our electricity from wind. And the other 60%? You might well ask.
Not nuclear if the Treasury has its way – too expensive and too long a build time – as they have been saying (and preventing investment) since the 1990s. So what? Batteries? Carbon capture and storage? Modular nuclear? Hydrogen? Tidal? xxx?
"yes" seems to be the answer. Batteries and hydrogen can go hand-in-hand with wind to soak up the excess on windy days, but we shall need an awful lot of batteries. Maybe even projects to lessen demand with better insulation will make a comeback, especially with sky-rocketing prices. Who knows? The government certainly doesn't seem to. I even read that there's a movement to stop heating space and to heat clothes instead (think plug-in jumpers, socks and trousers). The gov isn't sure about that either.
Meanwhile, for a cold 8 am in April with the heating turned off, I'm feeling rather under-dressed!