Wind and solar power generation levels far from enough to fulfil global needs
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.
Justice Park Oxton, Lauder