Power Produced by Wind in UK Nov 2008-Sep 2010

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/ .

11 Responses to Power Produced by Wind in UK Nov 2008-Sep 2010

  1. riddiofengland says:

    try the Renewable energy foundation (trust ? ) website.
    It contains all the details you may require.
    hope this helps.

  2. rms says:

    Thanks! It does help.

  3. fujirobin says:

    Elexon’s system only monitors about half of the UK’s turbines by MW-age and a third by number, and its mainly the Scottish ones. see http://www.scribd.com/doc/38271201/Wind-Farms-Sep-10

    And yes REF do do the analysis after the event, when all the numbers are in from the unmetered sites – via OFGEM’s ROC register… well they used to.

    A more useful analysis might be by region of WT size or model if that’s possible !

    • rms says:

      This link seems to crash my browser (Safari on Mac OS).

      I don’t have the data by WT size or model. Agree it would be useful and interesting. Vendors and operators surely have it. Only time series data found so far is from National Grid and it’s a total by day in 30 and 5 minute intervals.

      I’m going to do an analysis of the wind power max, min, mean, and fitted probability distribution by hour of the day using the 5-minute data for the 23 months of data provided by National Grid.

  4. fujirobin says:

    To look at the ROC Register directly go here https://www.renewablesandchp.ofgem.gov.uk/ and choose View Public Reports.

    These are the MWh figures claimed for ROCs, and so will be accurate if we assume that all wind generators will want to claim! Most large generators update with monthly meter readings

  5. fujirobin says:

    Just done a quick total from the ROC register 2009-2010
    Wind generated 9,956,655 MWh. Divide by 8760 hours and that yields a continuous equivalent of 1137 MW.

    If the average max/rated power of wind for that period was 4000 MW (was it?) then we have a load factor of 1137/4000 = 28.5%

  6. rms says:

    Cool. Your news about the Elexon is only 1/2 of turbines is disturbing. I have to dig deeper to see where I missed that *small* detail. I surely got the impression it was the entire “grid”; but accept that not all turbines on the grid.

    DECC says installed capacity 2009 was 4,424. Surely some more in 2010, so say 5000 is install capacity still gives a sort of respectable 23%.

    To get a good load factor need good numbers on both production and capacity. I know you know this. This is what I’m seeking. Thought had it with Elexon’s data; but apparently not.

  7. fujirobin says:

    Probably the way REF do it, by individual windfarm, is the only accurate way to do it. You need to know if the turbines were connected and able to produce for the whole year. Working from total turbine capacity or numbers, when that total is constantly rising means you have to make assumptions.

  8. rms says:

    First pass is to get the power produced. I was hoping that National Grid had all power produced (or not produced). Now I’m not sure that they have all wind farms which contribute power in the data that shows how much power is produced. Seems like if they have all farms that produce power for them in the database, it would be a very accurate record of power produced.

    Even if I don’t know if connected and if *not* producing … I *think* that ok since if not connected and not producing it would be zero contribution to the national grid–though can’t compute an accurate load factor, of course. The machine doesn’t have to produce for the whole year… only need to know how much produced in the year. If not producing–well, that is interesting info. The mystery then, is why it is not producing and they don’t say why very clearly in the data.

    If not connected and producing … then where does power go? Probably to private/industrial use, I guess.

    A separate matter is what is the total capacity of all those machines. That’s a big guess at this point as easy access to the source data seems hard or impossible.

    It would be terrific if there were a real date model and database published which shows power, connected machines, etc. Wishing for too much I guess.

  9. fujirobin says:

    You could use this for most of the large wind farms http://www.bwea.com/ukwed/operational.asp
    I do wish they stop using “homes equivalent” and use proper units (MWh).

    ISTR the REF load factor analysis shows quite a lot of times when certain windfarms were “down” with no explanation as to why… faults, repairs, or whatever.

    The ROC Register is crude and likely to get the whole production data eventually, but not real time.

    The “contribution to the National Grid” thing needs some exploration. Windfarms such as North Hoyle and Cefn Croes in Wales are not connected to the Elexon system, and count as “embedded generation” – i.e. they appear to NGC as negative demand. They are the biggest windfarms in Wales and they contribute to demand but not the “national” grid. Terminology issue I guess.

    I am also interested in the wind-forecasting accuracy issue and the total market makeup (which I presume is like betfair – the summation of lots of individual deals). Wind generation displaces mainly fuel-based generators (gas and coal) at a price dependent on time of day. So wind being free-fuel brings the average cost down, but a cost of the associated ROCs… how do they compare? I don’t think all the market info is available… or is it?

    Is the forecasting and outturn data in the Elexon data files? You can get the csv for today off the bmreports site.

  10. rms says:

    Good list, or at least I hope it is. With the help of many here, I’ve now found so many “tables” of data on the web. Impossible to guage how complete or accurate except for anecdotal spot checks–which is a valid inspection technique but doesn’t help getting the full picture.

    I’m thinking what I’m going to do is more quickly than planned build a *real* database (and data model) of the full picture and then populate it with everything I find and see where there are holes or overlaps. I’m going to figure out a way to put on an internet-accessible (but secure, of course) machine to enable collaboration with interested others.

    I’m wondering if there is some sort of foundation or organisation who would be willing to fund this? Just a wild and crazy idea.

    As I started on this journey I had naive expectations that this data would be more easily found in a structured way. I “expected” it but did not “anticipate” it so I’m not surprised.

    I like your idea about forecasting … I would “expect” the power markets have this data and the algorithms firmly in hand. I’ll include this sort of stuff in the data model.

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