It is interesting and informative to read both the Agenda article by Roseanna Cunningham on the vision within the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Climate Change Plan (“We must all be energised to build a country that is fairer and greener”, The Herald, January 25) and an article within your Scotland’s Ports supplement (“Offshore projects set to power ahead in coming years”, The Herald, January 20) prepared, apparently, after dialogue with Renewables UK. The former is a vision of where politicians think we are going and the latter a declaration, in advance, of how the renewables industry says we will achieve it. This implies the latter confidently knows what the former is thinking. This is presumably because the latter is leading the former.
What is lacking throughout is the application of (or requirement that) analytical electrical engineering mathematical rigour be applied to the vision in order to determine what is realistically achievable.
Professional engineering institutions throughout the UK have been shouting from the rooftops for several years now for system engineering modelling to be established to this end. It would have been reassuring had the Climate Change Plan incorporated such a sensible course of action.
Instead we resort, apparently, to the hyperbole of the vested interest renewables groups.
For example, whilst it is true from the Scotland’s Ports article that the applicable Contract for Difference (CfD) strike price relating to the new Hinckley nuclear power station, if ever built, will be £92.50 per megawatt hour and that the present wholesale rate for electricity is £55.10, it ignores the other half of the story, that the comparable strike prices agreed in the February 2015 CfD bidding round for offshore wind generation were £114.39 and £119.89.; some 20-30 per cent higher than that for nuclear.
I am unaware that these have since been reduced.
Some will question why the article overlooked this.
The article also states that on the planned SSE’s Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd project “each of the 84 turbines has the potential to generate 558MW”. This is nonsense.
Were the 558MW claimed true then each turbine would be outputting half the capability of a Torness or Hunterston nuclear power station, which would indeed represent energy salvation beyond the wildest dreams and energy mathematics of James Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday and James Watt.
Our present reality is that at teatime on January 20 even “offshore” Orkney with 57,000 kilowatts of installed wind capacity was generating only 42 kilowatts, enough electricity for 21 electric kettles. This for a population in excess of 21,000.
At lunchtime on January 22 the UK power demand was 44,000MW with the entire measured UK windfleet in collapse and only generating 390MW or 0.89 per cent of our needs while Scotland was importing 1573MW (equivalent to 1.5 Hunterstons) to keep our cookers on.
No amount of additional offshore wind turbines would have provided Scotland’s needs.
Saviskaill, Langdales Avenue, Cumbernauld.
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