Energy efficiency

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WITH regards to the debate about fracking, it has been in use since the 1860s but recent technological advances mean our known shale fields in the old industrial areas of Lothians and Fife can be revived.

Protest against fracking is being led by the usual suspects sustained with misinformation about water contamination, earth tremors and its effect on the countryside. However, it is really that low-density source, wind energy, which uses vast tracks of land to produce a tiny power output compared to coal, oil, nuclear – or fracked gas.

It is also intermittent, often meeting as little as 0.1 per cent of demand and requires a spinning reserve from coal or gas units run at inefficient low loads to cover sudden drops.

An alternative to this spinning reserve is the National Grid’s plan to use open-cycle and combined-cycle gas turbine distillate oil plants, which can be run up in a few seconds, but these are very expensive.

Wind farms are not really “green”, they despoil the countryside, blight the lives of neighbours, have an output that cannot be stored and are often paid not to produce.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews, Fife

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