As 2016 begins to fade into the memory the media will be full of lists of the “highs and lows” from the year. Each year our blog report of the Irish wind farm output lows for the previous year (see 2014, 2015) is one of the most read posts on our blog, so here are the lows for 2016 (ROI).
As with last year our more traditional 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 New records set for wind energy generation across Ireland during Christmas 2016, and subsequent copy and paste articles on Irish Times and NewsTalk.
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 sustained periods with no output at all in February, May and October and the annual record low falling on 16 May 2016 when wind output was at a sustained recorded level of -3MW (all figures were sourced from EirGrid information webpage).
|Month||Recorded Output Low||Date & Time|
For some context for readers in relation to the output figures, according to IWEA the island of Ireland has 249 wind farms (215 in ROI) with an installed capacity of 3,301MW (2,659.116MW 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 0MW – 39MW (ROI) represent a very poor return for the Republic’s 2,659MW installed capacity.
So, the next time you see a pro-wind advert (remember that unlawfully broadcast JFK Power to Power Ourselves advertisement) or 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.