The mighty pumped-hydro facility at Dinorwig in Snowdonia took ten years to construct, can zip from zero to 1.3 gW output in 12 seconds, and was built as an essential National Grid stabiliser – and long before the rush for erratic renewables generation.
Rapid-response gas-fired stations, mainly in England, and some smaller pumped hydro such as Ben Cruachan in Scotland, supplement this.
All of these play a role in Scotland’s generation activities. With the intended shut-down of existing nuclear and fossil-fuel base-load facilities and increasing reliance on wind power, many more hugely expensive Dinorwigs will be needed.
Denmark, for example, relies on Norway’s hydro and pays for the privilege.
I may be mistaken but I think the wind/nuclear cost ratio given by Tony Trewavas (Letters, 3 March) does not fully allow for the foregoing and so is likely to be a very big underestimate.
Reliable on-demand wind-generated electricity is a hugely expensive commodity.
(Dr) A McCormick