Wind farms can never be relied upon to keep the lights on in Britain because there are long periods each winter in which they produce barely any power, according to a new report by the Adam Smith Institute.
The huge variation in wind farms’ power output means they cannot be counted on to produce energy when needed, and an equivalent amount of generation from traditional fossil fuel plants will be needed as back-up, the study finds.
Wind farm proponents often claim that the intermittent technology can be relied upon because the wind is always blowing somewhere in the UK.
But the report finds that a 10GW fleet of wind farms across the UK could “guarantee” to provide less than two per cent of its maximum output, because “long gaps in significant wind production occur in all seasons”.
Modelling the likely output from the 10GW fleet found that for 20 weeks in a typical year the wind farms would generate less than a fifth (2GW) of their maximum power, and for nine weeks it would be less than a tenth (1GW).