The journalists of our beloved Flemish media seem to go ballistic lately. Yesterday there was the item in the VTM news about the current “drought” that was “direct result of climate change”. Today the VRT news felt it had to compete with that and went full stupid in an article with the sensational title:
Flemish windmills have almost the same capacity as a nuclear reactor
Apparently the onshore windmills in Flandres have a total capacity of 920 MW, which is only slightly below the capacity of (some of) our nuclear turbines (at somewhat above 1,000 MW).
I am afraid that I have to spoil that party…
The article gives the impression that those onshore wind turbines could somehow replace such a nuclear turbine. There is however a big difference between the two.
While a nuclear turbine of 920 MW delivers power according to its capacity on an almost continuous basis, this is not the case for wind turbines. Not even close. The average production for onshore wind is (from memory) somewhere around 20% of its installed capacity. So that 920 MW installed wind capacity will produce on average the same power as a 184 MW turbine.
Let’s just have a look at the numbers. At the elia website one can find the production of our (onshore and offshore) wind farms. This is the production of those onshore wind farms today:
The monitored capacity at the elia site is currently at 1,248.71 MW, so apparently most of the onshore turbines are located in Flandres. But look very carefully at the scale of the Y-axis. Production was highest at midnight at … around 88 MW.
88 MW out of 1,248,71 MW?!?! That is only 7% of the installed capacity.
At its highest level today.
The lowest value today was this morning around 6:00 at 26.29 MW. That is a tad more than 2% to you and me.
I don’t know any nuclear turbine with a capacity of 920 MW that has such horrible production figures.
But, but, don’t we have offshore turbines as well? The wind always blows at sea, doesn’t it? Well, maybe:
The highest value was just before noon, but clocks at a tad below 65 MW (out of 712MW → 9%) and the minimum was conveniently rounded to 0 by elia.
Installed capacity is not the same as production. Why is that so incredibly hard to understand for journalists?