Subject: Windcrofting
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 14:18:23 +1000
On Fri, Sep 15, 2006 at 07:11:11AM +1000, Evan Beaver wrote:
> Most electrical grids do have quite serious storage systems
> built into them (see the Snowy River Scheme) so hopefully it shouldn't be
> too much of a problem. With the UK using nukes for much of their baseload
> generation, wind (but not solar, the weather there's terrible) turbines and
> good storage systems (large hydro storage systems have efficiencies
> approaching 90odd%) should cover the variable part of the demand.

The UK can generate roughly 3 GW from pumped storage.  This is roughly
5% of UK peak demand - far short of the capacity necessary for reliable
supply if 50% of UK generation is from wind.  Its efficiency is 70-80%
so you'd also need another million or two "windcroft" turbines too.

Demand for pumped-storage isn't new - its  useful for making more
efficient use of baseload (e.g coal or nuclear) generation and for
rapid response to demand peaks - off to full power in a few minutes.
A general problem with pumped-storage is that good sites are scarce and
often already used, hindering expansion.

Denmark can generate 20+% of its electricity from wind because its in the
fortunate position of having large amounts of readily dispatchable hydro
power available from Norway and Sweden when the wind doesn't blow.

An engineer's analysis of wind power in Denmark versus the UK here:
And a description of an impressive UK pumped-storage site here:


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