The past few weeks have brought new wind generation records in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Germany, with the last resulting from winter storm Xaver, which blasted northern Europe late last week.The Irish record came November 8, according to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), which reported that total wind generation at 8 a.m. reached 1,564 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 1 million Irish homes and over 45 percent of system demand at the time.
IWEA Chief Executive Kenneth Mathews commented, “As families across the country sat down for breakfast this morning, wind energy generation was breaking records …“As global talks continue on combating climate change, we are proud that Ireland is leading the way in demonstrating the potential of wind energy. In addition to the environmental benefits which clean energy offers, we are also seeing exciting new opportunities in terms of jobs and investment with over 3,400 people already employed in this sector.”Britain was next to set a new wind mark, as wind generation rose to 6,053 MW early on the morning of December 2, providing about 14 percent of the electricity on the U.K. system, according to Bloomberg News. The article said nearly 7,900 MW of gas-fired generation was shut down during the period of high winds. It added:”The U.K. plans to almost triple [its] wind capacity by 2020 as it seeks to meet a target to get 15 percent of power demand from renewable energy sources. Wind and solar have no fuel costs, generally making them cheaper than coal or gas.”‘As well as the higher wind power, demand is down by about 2 gigawatts from yesterday as well so it has given the chance for less efficient gas-burn facilities to drop output,’ Gary Hornby, energy markets analyst at Inenco Group Ltd., said by e- mail today.”Finally, Germany’s old wind generation record was literally blown away by Xaver December 6, as wind-generated electricity peaked at slightly more than 26,000 MW, according to Renewable Energy International magazine. The magazine article is worth a look, as it includes a graphic showing wind and solar generation over several days within the broader context of the power system.
Adds the article: “The effect on [electricity] prices was also remarkable. In day-ahead trading, power prices on the exchange in Germany were only half of the levels in France and Switzerland, resulting in a large amount of power exports …
“Perhaps the most interesting thing about the storm in terms of wind power is that it shows how much more wind power capacity we can withstand. The record peak was still not even one third of peak demand at the time, suggesting that Germany might be able to have three times the current level of wind power–100 GW–installed before large amounts of wind power would have to be stored.”