Wind and so­lar power gen­er­a­tion lev­els far from enough to ful­fil global needs

The Scotsman - - Letters To The Editor -

Whilst be­ing in sym­pa­thy with much of Joyce Mcmillan’s con­tri­bu­tion (Per­spec­tive, 12 Oc­to­ber) I am a bit puz­zled by her claim that “it has been re­peat­edly demon­strated...” that all of the world’s en­ergy needs could be sup­plied by wind and so­lar alone. By whom? Per­haps she could sup­ply a re­li­able ref­er­ence. To my knowl­edge no coun­try has come near to even pro­vid­ing all of what we usu­ally re­fer to as “elec­tric­ity” by such means, and elec­tric­ity in gen- eral is only at most about one third of re­quired to­tal en­ergy gen­er­a­tion.

We may note that the Euro­pean coun­tries which have for decades had the low­est car­bon emis­sions, France, Nor­way and Swe­den, are also the ones with least reliance on wind and so­lar. I think most ex­perts would agree with me that it is not pos­si­ble to have a re­li­able dis­patch­able power sup­ply from these two sources alone – re­mem­ber wind’s no­to­ri­ous vari­abil­ity/in­ter­mit­tency and so­lar’s com­plete ab­sence ev­ery night .

(DR) A MCCORMICK

Kirk­land Road Ter­re­gles, Dum­fries

Joyce Mcmillan ar­gues that we must de­car­bon our econ­omy much faster “to avert dis­as­ter” and move to an econ­omy where elec­tric­ity is gen­er­ated “from so­lar and wind power alone.” The Cli­mate Change Act re­quires gas to be phased out for heat­ing, but as CAS re­ports, elec­tric heat­ing of homes is three times as costly as gas. De­car­bon­i­sa­tion will dra­mat­i­cally in­crease fuel poverty if gas boil­ers are to be re­placed by elec­tric ones, as the IPCC and the UK and Scot­tish govern­ments in­sist we must do.

Last year the thou­sands of wind tur­bines, off­shore and on land, in the UK pro­duced only 13 per cent of our elec­tric­ity but this was an in­ter­mit­tent sup­ply, an un­re­li­able sup­ply. Gas pro­duced 47 per cent of our elec­tric­ity 365/7, but gas power sta­tions are also to close un­der the pre­pos­ter­ous Cli­mate Change Act, as are our re­main­ing coal-fired power sta­tions.

Dur­ing the “Beast from the East” the Na­tional Grid would have crashed if our re­main­ing coal-fired power sta­tions had not been work­ing flat out. On 26 Fe­bru­ary, for ex­am­ple, coal was pro­duc­ing 22 per cent of the UK’S elec­tric­ity, com­pared with 9 per cent for wind. In the early hours of 1 March, with gas in short sup­ply, coal was gen­er­at­ing more than a third of the UK’S elec­tric­ity.

If we want to avert the real dis­as­ter of a com­ing en­ergy cri­sis de­car­bon­i­sa­tion should be halted forth­with.

It is also worth not­ing that ev­ery wind ma­chine (they are not tur­bines in the en­gi­neer­ing sense) would seize up were it not for the oil in their gear­boxes – no de­car­bon­i­sa­tion for Big Wind, then.

WILLIAM LONESKIE

Jus­tice Park Ox­ton, Lauder

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