Letters / Junk electricity

I admit to banging on that the maximum capacity of worthless real time renewable electricity the national grid can handle at any given point in time is around ten per cent.

The quality of British electricity has been steadily falling because unreliable renewable generation is becoming an increasingly large component in the power supply.

This poor quality electricity is becoming more and more problematic to balance because, above 10 per cent of capacity, it causes flickering of lights in households and commercial properties and may well trigger outages, aka blackouts.

Electrical capacity from thermal sources must be ‘firm’ on the national grid to maintain a stable current, known as fault level; renewable generation destabilises the fault level. 

This is a major problem and will never be solved unless renewables deliver the same quality ‘firm’ electricity 24/7 that our nuclear and fossil thermal power stations deliver presently.

Our power grid is balanced around a frequency of 50 Hertz (Hz). Any major deviation above or below this level hits the quality of our electrical supplies, causing flickering of light bulbs in households and, in the worst case, blackouts.


It is ironic that wind turbines cannot generate anything when the wind blows because they rely on the constant supply of high quality synchronous fossil thermal electricity to work in the first place.

Maintaining a frequency of 50 Hz has not been difficult before the advent of a plethora of intermittent real time renewable generators because, in the past, Britain’s pure high quality electricity was produced by gas, nuclear and coal-fired power stations.

However, the rise of misguided political dogma has driven the construction of more and more on- and offshore decentralised and unreliable renewable capacity, such as this Viking nonsense, which will make it even more difficult to maintain a stable frequency, reducing the quality of supplies and potentially collapsing the grid.

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The lucrative subsidy-fuelled boom in renewable capacity across the UK and Europe had coincided with a drop of the power frequency.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (Entsoe) has concluded that a ‘perfect storm’ of low real time renewables’ outputs coupled with a major capacity outage such as the power link between France and Britain would pose “a severe risk for the system to collapse.”

This is because contaminating high quality electricity from thermal power stations with poor quality intermittent junk electricity from wind farms loses flexibility leading to flickering and frequency outages.

Scotland will, of course, be first in line for any blackouts caused by the wanton increase in wind farms scattered all over our once scenic vistas.

The National Grid has also warned in its latest electricity ten year statement that “a reduction in fault levels weakens the overall strength of the network which in turn can give rise to quality of supply issues such as large voltage steps, harmonics and flicker”.


However, this ‘negative’ realism is carefully redacted from renewable energy websites in the UK to keep the gravy train on its tracks.

Ten years ago the UK had almost no renewable power capacity installed and instead relied on a mixture of gas, coal and nuclear generation.

Now with around ten percent of its electricity coming from renewable sources, subject to the vagaries of weather and tides, the aspiration of increasing the UK’s share of installed renewable capacity above the current tipping point of ten per cent is never going to happen.

Frequency variation lower of greater or lower than three per cent would result in local blackouts or force thermal power stations to shut down.

Sudden swings in frequency may be controlled by developing expensive so-called primary, secondary and tertiary control measures to balance the grid, but this is like applying a sticking plaster to a mortal wound.


The only solution is to force the existing renewable energy to generate the same kind of firm reliable non-intermittent electricity that is generated in our thermal power stations.

The renewable energy industry has grown fat on lucrative subsidies sanctioned by gullible politicians for supplying not fit for purpose poor quality ‘old rope’ electricity that will ultimately destabilise the national grid to the point of collapse.

It is time for the government to stop paying out on substandard intermittent electricity and only pay subsidies on firm constant renewable electricity that will keep our lights on twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

The British government has already realised just how worthless the poor quality electricity from renewables is, and has been panicked into subsidising the fracking of shale gas, and is shortly going to fritter £1 billion of taxpayers’ money towards CCS at Peterhead, which will never work anyway.


Renewable derived real time electricity is a symptom of an industry in terminal decline and no amount of taxpayers’ cash is going to change that prognosis. 

Coal reserves are depleting exponentially and may run out as early as 2030, so the sooner the renewable energy industry are forced into generating firm secure power 24/7, the better.

Andrew H Mackay

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