Lack of storage means that wind power is lost for 1.2 million homes in the UK.

New research shows that there was not enough wind power in winter to supply 1.2 million homes per day. This is because there isn’t enough energy storage capacity to store the gusty days.

According to Stonehaven, National Grid’s electricity system operator requested that wind turbines, which were expected to produce about 1.35 Terawatt-hours (or more) of electricity between October & January, be switched off. They were not required to meet current demand.

Gas-fired power generators consumed an estimated 65 terawatt hours of gas during periods when wind speeds were lower, which cost an estimated £60bn.

National Grid had asked two British coal-fired power plants to heat up on Tuesday due to a forecasted cold snap. They were able to restrain themselves by Monday afternoon.

Rupert Pearce is the chief executive of Highview Power’s electricity storage business. He said that more storage capacity was necessary to stop wind power from being wasted.

He stated that “Renewable Energy Storage is Essential to Powering a Cleaner, Cheaper, Always-On Britain.”

“By capturing excess renewable energy and storing it, which is now the UK’s most affordable, secure, and most abundant form, we can power Britain’s homes, businesses, and take millions of tonnes out of the atmosphere, and end reliance on foreign imports.”

Electricity demand and supply must be continually matched. Wind turbines can be paid to turn off when it is too windy or there isn’t enough capacity on the cables to transport the electricity to where it is required.

There are efforts underway to increase storage capacity in order to store windy electricity and save it for use, rather than turning off the turbines.

The current storage options include pumped hydroelectric storage and lithium batteries.

Highview Power is working on an alternative that uses electricity to liquefy air. The air is then turned into gasoline and driven by a turbine when power is required.

This winter, there is increased pressure on Britain’s electricity supply due to a series of closures of UK nuclear power stations and outages in France’s fleet.

To meet winter peak demand, Britain imports nuclear power from France. However, this ability is limited by the constraints in France.

National Grid requested that coal plants in Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottshire) and West Burton (Lincolnshire) be warmed to ensure they could come online on Tuesday if demand is not met by other power providers. It said that they wouldn’t be required, shortly before 5 pm, “following further evaluation of operational margins”.

Gas is used to heat most homes and generates 40pc of the UK’s electricity.

According to National Grid figures, gas and wind each have generated around 34pc of Britain’s electricity in the last four months.

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