UK wind turbines need national grid electricity to operate


Yes, you read that right.

Off-shore wind turbines take power from the National Grid when not generating electricity, it has emerged.

They use electricity to keep their blades rotating slowly in cold weather to prevent them icing up and to power the systems which turn the blades into the wind.

It costs around twice as much to produce electricity using offshore wind than at traditional coal and gas-fired power stations.

But think about the feel good factor!!

Critics say it is a ‘folly’ that turbines need National Grid power even when idle….

The issue has flared up after one resident in North Wales told how he had observed more than 100 turbines off the coast ‘idling very slowly’ in freezing conditions.

Brian Christley, of Conwy, raised his concerns in a letter to The Daily Telegraph. He wrote: ‘Over the weekend just gone – the coldest of the year so far – all 100-plus offshore wind turbines along the North Wales coast were idling very slowly, all using grid power for de-icing and to power their hydraulic systems that keep the blades facing in the same direction.

When you think about it, it make sense that they need external power to change configuration when the wind isn’t actually suitable to do the job, but even so, it’s rather amusing that they draw power from the grid when they aren’t being useful.

– Daily Mail


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  • conwaycaptain

    Drove along that coast a few years back on the way to HMS Conway’s old home at Plas Newydd Llanfair PG and they are an eyesore

    • GoingRight

      Not to mention the noise they make plus the decapitation of birds, all in all they should all be removed.

    • kehua

      They are a blot on any landscape, I am sure that History will line them them up alongside the Edsell.

    • Pharmachick

      Yep, we hate those things in our house. Colloquially known as Triffids round here.

  • peterwn

    All power generators of any significant size draw power when not generating. The odds are that land based wind generators and ancillary equipment have anti condensation heaters to stop condensation forming on critical items in winter. Also when a turbo-alternator at a power station like Huntly is shut down it will be kept rotating slowly (‘barring’) for 48 hours or so until it is quite cooled down. Otherwise the hot shaft will sag in the middle which means it has to be stripped down and the shaft sent to Devonport Naval Base (which has a very large lathe) or overseas to be trimmed back into balance.

    • conwaycaptain

      All steam turbine vessels had the prop turning a v low revs whilst in port. RNZN was one of the last navies to have steam powered vessels when the last Leander went to the knackers yard.
      As far as I know the only merchant steam powered vessels are some gas carriers which us the “boil off” of the cargo as fuel for the boilers and only use FO on the ballast run back

      • sin-ic

        I thought the last was the ‘Black Prince” whose boilers spat the dummy as she was sailing to the knackers yards. Had to be towed the rest of the way.

  • Wallace Westland

    Plenty of parallels here. Russel Norman draws power from the national grid and he’s never been useful either.

    • taurangaruru

      All he generates is methane & CO2

    • Steve (North Shore)

      What is Russell Norman? An old ship, or a new ship?

  • metalnwood

    No, no, they put in one second of power from the grid to turn it, then they shut off the power for two second whilst it generates with the spinning blade. Then they repeat ensureing that they get twice as much power generated as what went in.

    I dont understand why they dont put one second power in and let it generate for four second to generate 4x the power put in to it!

  • JAFA Gazza

    Anyone driven through Tarifa, Costa de la Luz in Spain? Ihave. Absolute eyesore…hundreds of the things..and the low continuous hum is enouugh to drive you mad. apparently Tarifa has one of the highest suicide rates in Spain ( as told by an officer on the Ferry across to Tangiers)…coincidence?

    Ed: Sp (as usual)