Why you need a balanced power supply



A reader has sent in this real time display of the power supply in NZ. You need supply to match or exceed demand – otherwise you have blackouts.

Now I am a fan of wind power. I love the sight of wind turbines on the hills. I like using natural renewable resources. But wind power can not be relied on at peak times as the above shows. My reader points out:

When demand is high, like on cold frosty nights and mornings, the wind just isn’t there and it doesn’t matter where in the country you have the windfarms, there isn’t any wind. That is why the UK grid is in near crisis. They have spent multi-billions on wind farm construction and millions a year in subsidies, yet they are talking of blackouts there within the next few years if they can’t build nukes in a hurry.

Now bear in mind that the Greens have said they want no more coal and no more large hydro. Imagine how the above would work if they had their way. And now also add into the mix the fact that the Labour and Greens nationalisation policy means generators will be very reluctant to invest in new generation.

Amateurs think that so long as the maximum capacity of a country’s power stations exceeds the maximum demand, then that is all you need. California and the UK are showing this is not the case. The balance or mix of sources of power is critical to avoid power blackouts, as well as having incentives for new capacity to be built in advance of when it is needed. Electing a Government determined to stop any future coal or large hydro generation capacity is a recipe for disaster. And if it occurs, it is not a problem you can fix overnight, or within weeks or months. New capacity takes years to consent, construct and make operational.

On days like today the total wind capacity is a mere 9 MW, of a needed 5,500 MW.

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