Gas provides 60% of UK electricity generation needs

It being a foggy day today, with no wind where I am in Surrey, thought I might check the Gridwatch website to check on our sources of electricity. There’s another Gridwatch website you can look at – confusingly with the same name.

Here’s the status of the National Grid from Gridwatch at 10.15 on 3rd November 2017, which shows that CCGT comprises almost 60% of our electricity generation needs – Combined Cycle Gas Turbines [Natural gas used to power turbines and the exhaust gases used to create steam to generate more electricity, hence combined cycle]. Click on image to enlarge.

Wind energy supplies almost 25% of UK power demand

I see the increasing use of renewable power as encouraging. Here’s a couple of screen captures Gridwatch over Christmas [firstly from 24th, and then 26th December] that shows wind power generating almost one quarter of the UK’s power needs. There are days when wind power generation is negligible, I am, therefore, a believer in the need for nuclear power to generate the base load of UK power needs.

gridwatch_24_dec_2016

gridwatch-1400hrs-26th-dec-2016

I’m pleased to see the UK’s investment in wind power starting to payoff. The offshore London Array wind farm in the Thames Estuary is currently the largest in the world, with 630 turbines. It’s disappointing that the UK has little involvement in ownership, manufacturing, or research and development of wind power turbines. One market where, as a nation, we can make up for that lack of expertise is in battery technology – see Giant UK battery launch, and HERE, and with Dyson.

Ever wondered about the sources of power in the National Grid

Sometimes you come across a website that truly surprises. Gridwatch is one of those. In one real-time screen Gridwatch provides the information on where the UK’s electricity comes from – coal, nuclear, gas, wind, and from interconnectors. I’ll not witter on about it, but let you marvel at the dashboard of gauges and monitors.

From just a little inspection of the gauges and monitors I’ve deduced that,

  • So little of our electricity is generated from wind is a poor return on the £billions we’ve invested
  • Coal-fired power generation is a reducing element of our power spectrum, with the use of gas increasing
  • I’d imagined that nuclear generated electricity would be higher. I guess it’s a result of our aging nuclear power stations being off-line for maintenance, or even closed.
  • Some sources of power generation are held in reserve, such as oil and hydro
  • Pumped hydro-electric power generation sources amount to just 1.5% – such as Dinorwig
  • Through the interconnectors, we’re a supplier of electricity to Ireland, and importer from France and Netherlands

If you click on the same dashboard view for France [by clicking on the French icon in the top left hand corner] it shows that 100% of electricity demand can be generated from nuclear power stations, with a small % from Hydro. [Click on image to enlarge].

Gridwatch