It is, I suppose, inevitable that representatives of the wind industry, WWF etc will boast of the wind and solar generation in windy or sunny months (“Wind energy could meet power demand of 3m homes”, 4 November).
However they were noticeably silent in September when the UK’s 11.2GW of installed wind turbines were seldom producing more than 1GW, and often as little as 0.3GW, for a total demand of up to 40GW.
Yesterday morning, real time metered wind on the national grid again dipped below 0.9GW. On Monday evening, at around 6pm, when demand was at its maximum of 48GW, metered wind was 0.82GW and solar generation would, of course, have been zero.
The properties that can efficiently use solar PV or thermal panels are almost certainly a minority of those in Scotland. And while households that have been able to afford the not-insubstantial investment involved might have met a third of their needs this way in October, how much can they expect in December and January?
The law in expensive wind and solar power is its intermittency and unreliability. Unless we are to suffer regular power cuts, then essentially 100 per cent backup is required from zero emission nuclear, low emission gas and low cost coal generation. The billions that consumers and taxpayers are spending on renewables make a negligible contribution to the nation’s energy security.
(Prof) Jack Ponton, FREng
Scientific Alliance Scotland
North St David Street
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