As 2015 begins to fade into the memory the media will be full of lists of the “highs and lows” from the year. Last year our report of the Irish wind output lows for 2014 was one of the most read posts on our blog so here are the lows for 2015 (ROI).
As with last year our print media only seem capable of reporting on wind output highs – no doubt the data is churned out of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) PR department, see for example Stormy Week Sees Wind Energy Hit Record Generation (PDF). In order to provide a little balance set out below is a table of the lowest wind output recorded, for the Republic of Ireland, in each of the last twelve months. The lowest recorded being periods in August, September and October when wind output was at a sustained level of just 1MW (all figures were sourced from EirGrid information webpage).
|Month||Output Low||Date & Time|
For some context for readers in relation to the output figures, according to IWEA the island of Ireland has 233 wind farms (199 in ROI) with an installed capacity of 3,042MW (2,400 in ROI). Demand on the island of Ireland fluctuates between 2,600MW – 6,100MW but reached a high of 6,878MW in December 2010. It is clear therefore that wind energy outputs of between 1MW – 20MW (ROI) represent a very poor return for the Republic’s 2,400MW installed capacity.
So, the next time you read an IWEA inspired “record Irish wind output” story check back to this page and visit EirGrid’s information page to confirm that despite the spin, the energy produced by wind turbines is unpredictable, intermittent and totally dependent on the backup of conventional fossil fuelled power plants such as those fuelled by gas, oil, coal or peat.