If you want to move the teaching of electricity generation from the simplistic ‘facts’ about renewables and non-renewables there are some great resources available online that give you real and current data for analysis. This is ideal for
Current Generating State in the UK – Gridwatch Shows Live Data – Daily , Weekly, Monthly and annual demand. This allows students to analyse why is demand lower on Sundays? In Summer?
It also gives a breakdown of how the energy demand was fulfilled using renewables and non-renewables. The variable nature of wind and solar generation are very apparent. The use of pumped and hydro electricity can be explored.
Buying Electricity from the Dutch and French is another debate that can link to the need for the Power companies to provide a consistent supply – It can also be noted that at times of high demand that the potential difference and frequency are reduced slightly. Demand-supply is very complicated and can be explored further here
More detailed data can be found at UK Power Generation You can see from the data below how the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine generators (CCGT) which are very fast and efficient are used to balance the output from Wind Power. You can also see that Storm Doris on the 25th February allowed nearly 28% of the demand of the UK to be met by wind
We can get the students to think about suitable sites for wind power by looking at current wind data from the Met Office
But we can look at the idea of reliability of data by taking averages from somewhere like RenSmart which gives us yearly breakdowns
Then we could actually look at where wind farms are located using Renewables Map
Then you could assess the viability of siting your own wind turbines for households, school, the community using the Energy Saving Trust
If you use this or find any other useful resources please add to the comments below.
A Maths in Physics blog is coming soon !