The UK publishes power generation by fuel type. See https://elexonexchange.bsccentralservices.com. From this data, provided in both 5 minute and 30 minute intervals, we performed an analysis on the 30-Minute data for the data which is between 1 November 2008 and 30 September 2010 (all the data available provided). We computed a 9.2% average load factor vs. 25-30% and beyond that is claimed and/or hoped for by some.
The following figure shows the histogram and “fitted” probability distribution of these 33,552 data points. The average power over this 19 month period was 368 MW (0.4 GW).
The following graph shows the cumulative distribution which allows a different view of the same data.
The only thing I currently know about installed wind power generation capacity in the UK comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_the_United_Kingdom which indicates that as of September 2010 there was “over 5 GW of installed” wind power capacity. From the graph published there it looks like there was about 4 GW for the year 2009. Until better numbers come along, this means that we get about 100% x 368.94 MW / 4,000 MW = 9.2% of the total installed capacity. This is somewhat less than the 25-30% and beyond reported as the so-called “load factor” for wind power generation.
The differences could be due to any number of affects which can be investigated:
- wind didn’t blow as much as planned
- there was too much wind too much of the time requiring the machines to be shutdown
- wind machines are not as efficient as thought
- electrical demand did not require using wind power machines–they used other generation machines and fuel
- a significant portion of the installed capacity is running but not connected to national grid (source of this data)
- the data I analysed is wrong
- I analysed the data incorrectly
My next step in this experimental exploration is to fit distribution functions to all fuel types (we expect them to look differently) and then use these distributions to do simulations of future changes in fuel-type. This can help answer questions, e.g. as renewable fuel (wind, wave, current, tidal, biomass, and solar) is forced by government policy to have a larger role at the expense of non-renewable (gas, oil, coal, and nuclear), how much extra renewable capacity is required to deliver power to customers with the same probability distribution as now (which implies same security of supply)?
I’m seeking better data on actual, planned, and forecast of power generation facilities in the UK. The best (assumption) I’ve found is on Wikipedia. Is there a definitive list of power stations which include: rated capacity, fuel types, date started, date retired, location, company, etc.?
Update 1 on 1 Nov 2010: See other fuel types at https://rmschneider.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/other-energy-fuels-used-in-uk-nov-2008-through-sep-2010/.
Update 2 on 1 Nov 2010: See wind data for each of the nine quarters of 2009 and 2010 at https://rmschneider.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/wind-power-generated-by-quarter-in-uk/. Interestingly, the trend of wind power output is not up.
Update 3 on 1 Nov 2010: A commenter on Bishop-Hill’s web site noticed a discrepancy between power/load factor computer here with National Grid Data vs. that reported by Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for 2009. See https://rmschneider.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/467/ were we do an initial exploration of the issue. Comments welcome. The discrepancy is not insignificant.
Update 4 on 2 Dec 2010: See a 20 year analysis of Wind Power Load factors for Denmark at https://rmschneider.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/danish-wind-generation-load-factors-1990-2009/ .