One thing we have learnt this week – wind overtakes nuclear

wind turbine in France from below bladesWind overtakes nuclear, that’s the headline this week.  The UK has had one of the harshest winters for many years but our increasingly renewably based electricity system has coped very well.  Wind overtakes nuclear increasingly often but this is the first quarter that it happened.  In Q1 2018 wind produced 18.8% of all electricity.  On the 17th March after dark wind produced almost half.  In this period as you can imagine solar did not make much of a contribution.  On March 1st wind managed up to 13.8GWh but solar only 200MW.  Presumably since the solar panels were covered in snow.  Demand rose with heating and was a three year record (generally peak demand has been falling).  Prices have risen and the price of gas has soared meaning some coal use was economic.  The fact that wind overtook nuclear was helped by the fact that 3 reactors were off line.  Two more maintenance and one had a blockage due to seaweed!

The direction of travel is clear though.  Soon renewables will overtake nuclear permanently.  As I write this solar is producing more power than nuclear.  This is probably going to be helped by accelerated closures due to cracked graphite control mechanisms.  The only question is when will this occur.

Neil

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