On Friday, Scottish Renewables (SR) had a press release claiming that renewable energy in Scotland was saving a million tonnes of CO2 per month. It was no accident perhaps that this coincides with hundreds of delegates taking carbon-spewing flights to Lima for their annual holiday – sorry, climate talks – paid for by someone else.
Let’s remind ourselves that in 2008 the British Wind Energy Association (now RenewableUK) was forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to halve its claimed emissions savings to 430g per kilowatt hour.
They had been cherry-picking coal-fired emissions, but when you look at the figures on the Gridwatch website you can see that when wind generation increases it’s gas which is cut back, not coal.
Estimates for emissions from gas range from 230g to 490g, and the highest estimates are made by those who promote renewables.
The SR calculation just multiplies renewable generation by the 430g figure. This is over-simplification, and ignores emissions due to the manufacture and deployment of wind turbines themselves, and the additional transmission infrastructure.
I’d like to thank SR for confirming that the load factor for solar is only about 4 per cent (compared to 28 per cent for onshore wind).
Deploying solar in Scotland probably uses more energy than what we get back, so zero carbon savings.
This summer Chancellor Osborne came on TV and declared that we are going to extract all the oil from the North Sea. So renewables are not reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The media has been full of reports about record cuts in Scotland’s CO2 emissions. Carbon emissions were cut by 12 million tonnes in 2013, an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year because of renewable electricity.
Quick off their marks were Joss Blamire of Scottish Renewables and Lang Banks of WWF Scotland to praise these figures.
It is ironic that Lang Banks was speaking from the UN’s climate conference in Lima Peru, where more than 12,500 world leaders, green activists and journalists from 196 countries will create 29,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.