I've recently been poking about on the web to try to find out what the Generation mix has been like in this Mild Winter (as predicted by the Met Office on 27 November).
The figures aren't easy to find but anyone who wants to have a look can go to:- http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm
Go to the ‘Generation by fuel type’ (graph) at the left. In the bottom left hand corner of the graph will be a link called ‘Current/Historic’ click this and then the top right corner where it says ‘Historic Data CSV’ – this will let you view / save it in Excel, either as a csv file or an Excel worksheet.
This will give you a spreadsheet of the last 3 months' figures, based on half hour averages. You can work out what the column headings are (more or less) by comparison with the Generation by fuel type’ (table) tab. (To make it easier do a screen capture and print it.) There is all sorts of other information on how the electricity markets actually work if you poke around.
I've made up some graphs showing the energy mix (based on 4 hour averages to make it more manageable) for November (from 17th) / December / January / February (up to this morning). No doubt you can do the same. If I knew how to upload attachments you could have mine with pleasure.
Calculating and plotting the figures as percentages of total means that the 'nuclear' plot goes up and down (because the total and thus the percentage of total goes up and down) whereas the actual amount of energy generated by nuclear is pretty constant - because they are on base load. You could, if you want, just plot output in MW but the output from wind is so small you can hardly see it.
Note that "other" includes a rag bag of things like hydro, pumped storage, oil and the interconnector from France. In essence this tends to be used to help out when things are tight or to attempt to counteract the destabilising effect of wind generation which is highly variable.
You will note that over the last 3 months the amount of wind generation has been derisory for the great majority of the time (little wind). This is the gross output of the UK's existing 2,700 turbines. Based on the half hour figures over the 3 months, the very best performance (over half an hour) was 3.982% of total, the average was a stonking 0.906% and the minimum was an impressive 0.017% of total. Remember this the next time the BBC comes out with some tale about the latest wind farm that will "supply all of Glasgow's electricity needs".
You will be pleased to note that the average subsidy of these bird shredders is £400,000 pa each and that Gordon Brown has announced the expenditure of £100 Billion to erect 3,000 more offshore turbines (and more onshore ones beside) before 2020.
You will also be delighted to note that David Cameron & Nick Clegg thing that this is a jolly good idea and that we should do much more and more quickly. Output from "Do-It-Yourself" generators will be much MORE derisory, of course. Even if they don't blow up in high winds, as they are prone to do.
You will also be impressed to know that the Green Party has stated that all the coal fired stations should be shut down as soon as possible - even before the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive requires this to be done by 2015.
It must be said that the three party leaders - and the Greens, vie with each other to be greener than the others. None of them could be trusted to run a bus stop. Never mind the country's energy policy.
Wrap up & keep warm!