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Energy: Wind Turbines

Volume 717: debated on Monday 8 February 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have (a) to ensure that sufficient electricity will be generated when wind turbines are not operating, and (b) to absorb excess power from wind turbines during periods of low electricity demand. [HL1551]

The effects of wind intermittency will increasingly be mitigated through a range of options. These include:

the geographical dispersion of wind farms across the country, including a potentially huge upscaling of our offshore capacity following the recent Crown Estate announcement on round 3 offshore wind zones;

the increasing deployment of predictable forms of renewable energy, such as biomass;

the availability of a spinning reserve (the electricity system always has more generating capacity available than the expected demand—known as spinning reserve—as no electricity generator, whether conventional or renewable, is 100 per cent reliable);

the increasing use of energy storage;

greater demand-side management;

we are also exploring a number of other ways in which to manage the deployment of increasing amounts of variable wind power in the future. These include greater levels of interconnection to mainland Europe; and

energy storage and other forms of flexible supply and demand are likely to have a very significant role to play in our future low carbon electricity network, particularly in facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable technologies.

We are currently looking at what our energy pathways to 2050 may be, as indicated in our recently published low carbon transition plan, and the outcome of this work will help us define the role for energy storage within our future low carbon electricity network.