Wind won’t stop the lights going out

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I was interested to read the article, “New power station ‘or lights go out’” (25 February).

Scotland uses about 35 TeraWatts of electricity a year. If we divide this by the number of hours in a year we get an average figure of 3,995 MegaWatts/hour.

Between them, Hunterston and Torness Nuclear power stations supply a reliable 2,000 MegaWatts/hour with a load factor around 85 per cent.

Scottish Renewables publish a wind capacity figure of 5118 MegaWatts, which should easily make up the difference.

The problem is that no one knows when the wind will blow, or not.

Longannet operates when the wind does not blow, but no company is going to spend money building a new large power station to be told to shut down because the wind is blowing.

Companies need to project costs many years into the future and need steady, reliable cost predictions.

The Scottish Government is backing renewable energy which is subsidised by the Westminster government.

There is continual talk of devolution, full devolution, and another Yes vote. The Scottish political situation for the next several years is in turmoil. No company will build a large power plant in Scotland while the electricity supply situation is in such political upheaval.

G WILSON

Dunbar

East Lothian

The grid connection charges for Longannet have been in place since it started operation in 1970.

They have now become an issue for the operators not because they are excessive but because the economics of all conventional generation have been undermined by the consumer paid subsidies awarded to intermittent renewables and the priority given to them on the grid.

Dependable electricity generation from coal, gas and 
nuclear is crucial to maintaining a secure supply when the wind drops and expensively subsidised turbines fail to deliver.

This is a regular occurrence in the winter. On 19 January, one of the coldest days this winter, peak electricity demand was 53,693MW, but at 2:30pm the UK’s entire stock of wind turbines was generating only 191MW, about 2 per cent of their rated capacity.

It is a dangerous illusion to pretend that our winter heat and light, and the operation of industry can rely on such an undependable resource.

If Longannet closes, the fault will lie entirely with our politicians’ obsession with so-called “green” energy.

(Prof) Jack Ponton FREng

The Borders Network of Conservation Groups

Heriot

I am surprised that the SNP has not welcomed the news that Scotland’s last coal-powered generator may close early (your report, 26 February). Is this not the same Scottish Government which boasts of its plans to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption from renewable energy?

The poverty of their energy policy is exposed by this recent development as it appears that the lights are only being kept on by a 40-year-old power station which last year was named as one of the top 30 polluting power plants in the EU.

On the same day you report that the destruction of our wild land continues with a proposal to build a wind farm above beautiful Glen Affric. You could not make it up!

Alan J Black

Camus Avenue

Edinburgh

Winners and losers have just been announced for wind farm-funding contracts. One such loser is Moray Offshore Renewables.

Already renewables supporters are prophesising doom and gloom. Alas, thousands more offshore turbines are in the pipeline.

There is an estimate of £40 billion to clean up North Sea oil, despite the fact that rigs can be floated and towed away. Offshore wind turbine bases are pile-driven into the seabed.

I recently e-mailed every offshore wind developer enquiring how they intend to remove them. I didn’t get a 
single response.

Often, corporations set up new companies to develop individual wind farms. When the subsides for renewables disappear, as inevitably they will, wind farms will be abandoned one by one as they wear out with many of these companies declaring themselves bankrupt.

Vast areas of British waters will be off-limits to shipping and fishing, and the public will face a huge clean-up bill.

Geoff Moore

Braeface Park

Alness