The GMB union has said the UK can’t rely on wind to provide supply as it’s just not windy enough.
In the year from 1 June 2015, one in eight days has been a low wind day. That’s 46 in total or one and a half months. Low wind means only 10% of installed capacity of UK turbines (almost 9000MW) have produced power.
The union supports a balanced low carbon energy mix including renewables, gas and nuclear power as well as carbon capture and storage. But says stalling on replacing our nuclear fleet is a mistake and it has criticised the attitude of the wind sector.
Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: “If your heating is turned off, your lights have gone out and your electricity supply has “Gone with the Wind”, the renewable energy suppliers cannot just shrug their shoulders and tell the public “frankly my dear we don’t give a damn”.
“The public want the lights to stay on, so until there is a scientific breakthrough on carbon capture or solar storage, then nuclear and gas are the only reliable shows in town which those advocating a renewable energy only policy have to accept.”
In response James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the REA believes technologies such as Demand Side Response and energy storage can help secure supply from renewables.
He said: “Renewables such as wind and solar, now in combination with energy storage, are rapidly emerging as low-cost, secure and stable forms of energy and competitive with other forms of low carbon generation.
“The National Grid does a very accurate job of forecasting electricity supplies from wind and solar. Their efforts will be complemented by the expansion of Demand Side Response (DSR) and extraordinary balancing services that storage has to offer itself as costs continue to fall.”