Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wind Robbery

Our utility bills are to rise, of that there is no doubt and there is also no doubt that hidden within our bills is a charge towards green energy.  I think energy companies purposefully make their billing system complex to confuse the average consumer and thus they have been able to include green taxes without much public outcry.

But you can, according to moneysupermarket, switch to a green energy tariff which I presume would give intricate detail. Be aware if you switch that:
By switching to green energy you are likely to be spending more money. However, you will also be making a statement that you support renewable energy. If enough people make the switch then this could help to convince the Government to offer support to the industry.
Who could refuse such an invitation?

The global warmers or climate changers have been silent since recent climate scientists have published material which disproves their assessments that the world is becoming warmer, but politicians continue to stagger down the renewable path- a path lined with wind turbines.

This week Alex Salmond attended the official opening of two new wind farms in South Ayrshire.  He is determined that Scotland generates all electricity from renewable sources by 2020 - but he never mentions the cost to the consumer.

Wind turbines don't work in winter when ice and lack of wind render them redundant most of the time.  That being the case they should be at their peak on spring, breezy days.  They are. Research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) and a must read, shows the constraint payments made to contracted power stations that agree to stop generating in order to stabilize the network.  A constraint happens when the National Grid is unable to absorb all the electricity being generated and those contracted to generate must be asked to stand down.

One occasion was during the first week of April when a number of Scottish wind farm contractors received payments - in some cases as high as 20 times the value of the electricity which would have otherwise been generated.  In total approximately £890,000 was paid over a few hours to six wind farms and these costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer. Wind farms are subsidised to the tune of £50-£55 per MWh but the National Grid, although obliged to pay to reduce output, has no standard MWh rate.  The graphic shows the Farr wind farm was paid £800 per MWh to reduce output in April, nearly 16 times the value of the subsidy foregone.

The single most expensive day in terms of payouts was 24 May when seven wind farms were shut down for a total of 69 hours with a compensation payout of £613,000.  Turbines were switched off again on 1 and 2 June but that cost has yet to be calculated.

John Swinney showed great angst at Scottish Power's announcement last week that bills were to rise roughly 15%.  SP insisted it was the cost of oil which was responsible.  Not a word about this exorbitant waste of power and the financial cost to end-users. Is it any wonder when these few days have cost Scottish consumers £1,503,000.

For years Scotland has paid highly to connect to the National Grid but politicians have been unable to resolve the issue. This is too serious a matter not to have been resolved before we started erecting wind farms throughout the countryside under the pretext that we would be self-efficient in power within 10 years. We may be self-sufficient but why are we throwing away valuable power and allowing wind farm owners/suppliers to rob us blind?


Time Traveller said...

Denmark's example should be a warning to us. It is littered with turbines that only manage to provide 5-10% of the Danes' elctricity needs. For the rest of their power, they have to import. If we all followed their example, from whom would we import?

Nuclear and coal - that's the way forward.

Woodsy42 said...

The entire situation is a scandal Subrosa. Although I wouldn't point the finger at the power companies. They have simply behaved in a totally predictable manner just as any international predatorial commercial entrerprise would and are taking maximum advantage of the situation. In the modern world there is no morality in big business and it's pointless and naive to expect it. Remove competitition and distort the rules for political gain and you get the results.
The fault lies as always with the politicians who have driven and used the CO2 climate change senario as a vanity, a scam to make money for their friends, and as a raft to change the face of taxation, deliberately creating vast incentives to create huge hidden and covert pan european tax streams for their own purposes. Our English politicians are self serving scientific illiterates, sadly for you Salmond is also a paid up member of the scam.

JRB said...

Through this and other blogs I am happy to voice my empathy and support for the SNP and their policies.

However - there is one major issue on which I feel they are heading in the wrong direction down a thoughtless cul-de-sac, and that is on the issue of wind-generated energy.

My local wind farm is a perfect example of all that is wrong with wind farms.
In the depth of winter when the average Highland temperature was -14deg and demand for energy was at its highest, the turbines stood idle on a windless frozen hillside.
In late spring when the incoming warm air from the west started to blow and demand was dropping, the operators were paid £265,000 to stop production. This cannot be right.

Wind turbines do not work as an effective energy source.
- They are both mechanically and electrically inefficient.
- They are climatically dependant,
- They cannot respond to consumer demand,
- They cannot produce a consistent even supply of power
- They can only supply in surges, and that is at the dictate of any wind prevailing at that time.
- There is no suitable storage system for power produced by such surges.
- As for being ‘green’, I hate to think what size of carbon footprint will be involved in the production, erection and maintenance of a single turbine.

Our politicians must face up to the reality that wind turbines have failed to prove they are a serious option for energy provision in Scotland.
They must now grasp this thorny issue and look at alternative sources which are consistent and efficient.

subrosa said...

TT the balance of on-shore wind needs to be reassessed. Why are we building farms only to waste energy for which the consumer still has to pay.

subrosa said...

Woodsy, I'm not pointing the finger too strongly at the power companies, but at the politicians who are permitting these farms to be erected all over the country at such a horrendous cost.

Waste is as offensive as greed.

Salmond is too involved in this to back down and stop while it's sorted out. Pity. If anyone could do that, and gain great support from the public at the same time, I would have thought it would be him.

subrosa said...

John, like you I support many of the SNP's policies but this isn't one of them.

Why are they continuing to permit these farms when the issue with the Grid still isn't resolved? Doesn't it matter to them that the public are having to pay highly for this?

They really need to stop and reassess. We have many windy days here and to waste power and be charged highly for the waste is obscene.

The power companies will make as much money as they can. That's business. If there are no controls over what they can charge of course they'll charge what they can get away with. That too is business.

petem130 said...

Denmark and Germany to name but two countries are continuing to develop wind power. The leading question for these countries is - how many coal, oil of other forms of power station have they shutdown. NONE. They have to maintain them so they can be brought back on-line when wind doesn't co-operate, bearing in mind that weather is a chaotic system and can never be tamed. Also remember that windmills and water wheels etc. were historically used as sources of power but were abandoned as soon as steam came along.

There is no reasonable argument for the use of wind power. If a company or an individual want to use it then carry on by all means, but for the rest of us let's stick to coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Keep power cheap and keep power for heating cheapest.

There is no such thing as a green house effect (non-proven theory) and the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is negligible. The scam will end, it's just a matter of time and that's increasingly likely to be sooner rather than later.

Eck? It would be criminal if the independence push was to flounder on the intransigence of Eck to be courageous enough to admit wind is not an option. Get oil, gas, shale oil exploration and production in the centre of our politics. Our country will flourish as it should have done after the initial oil finds took place. This time however, there will be no Westminster to spend the resulting wealth for us.

RMcGeddon said...

Yes the global warming scam juggernaut just rolls on and on. Claiming that windmills are green energy is ludicrous. I've visited Whitelees. 140 windmills covering 20 square miles. Each windmill sitting on a concrete block 20metres square and up to 9 metres deep. All connected by 70km of metalled roads. Oh and each windmill hauled across hundreds of miles and stuffed with toxic gearbox metals. That moor will never recover when the scam is finally stopped. I doubt if they're planning to remove all the conctrete and roads and re plant the peat bogs.
Alex Salmond has a slight get out clause SR. He said we would have the equivalent of 100% renewables running side by side with conventional power generation. Rather than totally relying on bobbing wave things and bird mincers.

Hamish said...

Not often I vehemently disagree with you subrosa, but on this article I do.

You rant "The global warmers or climate changers have been silent since recent climate scientists have published material which disproves their assessments that the world is becoming warmer, but politicians continue to stagger down the renewable path- a path lined with wind turbines".

I share your scepticism about the evidence for (negative man-made) climate change.
But you keep dragging this issue into the argument for/against focussing on renewables.

Tell me where you disagree with the following:
. burning fossil fuels creates pollution;
. fossil fuels are being burnt up faster than they are being created;
. nuclear power in all its forms is dangerous.

The future has to lie with renewable, sustainable forms of energy.

Myself I would like to see more emphasis on hydro schemes and tidal power, rather than on-shore wind.

I don't think I have an axe to grind here (in terms of financial interests), but I confess when I first caught sight of the Soutra Hill wind farms, I found their stately turning blades strangely appealing. It would be a very stupid eagle who got hit by one.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I'm getting confused.

Not on the pros or cons of wind turbines or renewable's but on the issue and purpose of privatisation.

Where exactly does the so called efficiency of commercial risk and of supply and demand lie?

But in order to insert a degree of relevance into the equation of base load peaks and troughs - in any conventional generator, coal or nuclear you have never been able to switch off between evening and morning - power during the troughs has always been wasted.

RMcGeddon said...

Hamish said (re windmills)...

"It would be a very stupid eagle who got hit by one"

Eagles have been killed in large numbers by wind turbines, e.g. 3,000 golden eagles over 25 years at the huge Altamont Pass windfarm near San Francisco...

Jo G said...

"Although I wouldn't point the finger at the power companies."

I'm getting confused too. Suddenly the traditional power companies are simply victims of oil prices. In fact they have been behaving like a cartel for many years now and practising extortion with the full approval of various governments. Watchdogs have not reined them in: they are about profits and about shareholders and the consumer is not even on the list.

I remember 35% hikes about four years ago and then falls in oil prices by more than that. What did the consumer get? A reduction of 15% if they were lucky. I accept some peop0le are clearly against wind power but please, don't start presenting traditional power suppliers as Mother Teresa. They have treated customers shamefully for years. They were supposed to be about "competition": instead they operate as an invisible cartel and exploit us all. Especially those, the poorest, who pay as they go and are charged higher tarrifs for doing so. It is obscene.

Jo G said...

"Myself I would like to see more emphasis on hydro schemes and tidal power."

I'm with you Hamish. The absolute hostility towards windfarms as a power source is one thing but to completely omit the contribution wave and other natural water sources can play in providing power is bizarre to me and I have said to on another thread similar to this one.

Scotland is rich in both. Furthermore hydro power is already here in Scotland, all over the place. I once toured various hydro schemes from the top of the country down to Argyll and was absolutely astonished and fascinated by all I learned about it.

Jo G said...

"Not on the pros or cons of wind turbines or renewable's but on the issue and purpose of privatisation."

The purpose of privatisation of the utlities by Thatcher was about money of course. What emerged was an abomination, an obscenity where consumers have virtually been held to ransom ever since by utility companies who work together to get the highest price and who can mutter, "oil prices" to justify every new hike. It is disgusting that their behaviour has been tolerated. My mother used to say, "Heat is food." Well there are lots of hungry poor anyway: these days they can't much afford heat either. Any serious government who claims to want to address "poverty" might want to start with the power companies who so ruthlessly exploit and extort without conscience. So do their shareholders as they calculate their disgusting returns annually when each of those companies announce their profits!

Joe Public said...

Hi Rosie

At least one energy supplier is helping deflect adverse criticism towards the correct target: the government.

British Gas has produced a pie chart clearly indicating the proportion of its costs it is obligated to 'waste'.

From it, you'll notice that 'environmental help' adds 30% to its buying costs.

So everyone, pensioners, all of British Industry etc, is paying approx 25% more on their fuel & energy bills for this STEALTH TAX.

Michael Fowke said...


"... when I first caught sight of the Soutra Hill wind farms, I found their stately turning blades strangely appealing."

Appealing? How? They ruin the landscape.

Jo G said...

Joe Public, we ALL pay, and not just "pensioners and all of British industry". The rest of us should count too, surely? And with respect, at least if the temperature goes below a particular reading, pensioners get extra help. Many of us don't. Why are you defending companies like British Gas who, with the other traditional fuel companies, are robbing the consumer blind? Do British Gas have a pie chart on their obscene profits?

And another thing: once upon a time VAT wasn't charged on domestic fuel. That was another Tory idea not enough people would fight against.

Jo G said...

"...let's stick to coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Keep power cheap and keep power for heating cheapest."

No mention of water in there either Petem? And you're for nuclear? What about the waste? You're on about the waste of power with wind farm produced power. What about nuclear waste? How are you with that?

Joe Public said...

Jo G @ 16:00

What makes you think I'm defending British Gas? At least they have the foresight to show the public & (all) consumers what costs make up the price we all pay for their commodity.

EVERY energy/fuel supplier ought to print those figures on their bills - then consumers would realise the extent of the unnecessary Stealth Tax.

Billy Carlin said...

We can run cars on water and houses could be powered with magnetic motors plus there are loads of other types of free energy only the governments do not want us to have them.

Watch the following videos - very interesting:

Jo G said...

Joe Public, your post made me think it. Never mind their costs, look at their profits over the years since they've been privatised. THAT's what they care about and they exploited all of us while they did it along with their partners in the cartel, the other energy companies.

Do you recall a massive 35% hike within the last five years because of that old chestnut "rising oil prices"? When oil prices fell again by MORE than 35% did our costs go down by the same percentage? No they darn well didn't. We were lucky if they went down by 15%. They are rackateers, extortionists, nothing less.

Jo G said...

This is the Scottish Government's consultation paper on "A Hydro Nation". All the more reason why I am surprised that water is not being mentioned here.

Jo G said...

It is significant too that all of the other Parties at Holyrood want to sell off Scottish Water. Why do you think that is? It is because of the potential it has. The SNP is the ONLY Party to say that will never happen. Alarming really when you think that 97% in a Strathclyde Referendum many years ago told Thatcher to keep her filthy profit-sniffing hands off our water when she hived off the other utilities. She got to do it with English water, she didn't get to do it with ours.

Oh, and did anyone hear Boris J's wee aside the other day about HM Government building canals to lead Scottish water out of here to ensure the south of England never runs out? We should think on. Even the English know the worth of our water even if some in Scotland don't.

microdave said...

"By switching to green energy you are likely to be spending more money. However, you will also be making a statement that you support renewable energy."

How about all customers on these tariffs are supplied only with "renewable" energy. See if they think it's such a wonderful idea in the middle of a calm January evening...

Jo G said...

microsdave, what a fab name: perhaps you would like to state here what you wish to leave to generations after ours, or are you like many others who goes with the "Who cares? I'll be dead." philosophy?

Joe Public said...

@ Jo G 20:19

1. Does a miniscule extra % CO2 added to what is already a trace-gas affect the earth? Please provide an answer, because many eminent scientists are unable to agree)

2. In the context of climate (& NOT weather) perhaps you should look at the header chart on:-

3. If fuel & energy prices were more realistic (i.e. didn't have to include 'Green' taxes), then they would be less-obscene (your adjective @ 12:35)

petem130 said...

Jo G.

Two things Jo. Firstly hydro works fine but we don't have any other likely sites to exploit. Also remember our environmentalist friends won't like the flooding of land and the loss of biodiversity. Water like wind isn't competitive yet and my own feeling is that large scale water power sourcing will also have an effect on the local biodiversity. This is a longer scale possibility. We need energy produced cheaply now!!!!!

Nuclear. Again our environmentalist friends have made it impossible to handle the storage of waste. How much waste do you think a family of four in a reasonable house would generate in a year? The answer is a thimble full. The new reactors actually produce far less than that and they can also use it as fuel.

Jo G said...

Petem, your answer on nuclear waste is , I'm sorry, no other word for it, CRAP! I'm sure future generations will thank you for your "thimblesfull" nonsense. NOT!

Jo G said...

No, Joe Public, YOU provide answers. Defend YOUR defence of British Gas, answer my questions about their exploitation of consumers along with their partners in crime, the other energy companies. Attack me if you like. I can cope. YOur own argument is shocking.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, love you dearly but this thread is not balanced when you omit water. I can't BELIEVE you missed out water. It says there is another agenda afoot. I'm disappointed. I like a balanced debate.

cynicalHighlander said...

Economics of new nuclear power plants


I believe EDF are in financial difficulties as they have to sell there electricity below cost as they have very little other generation types to offset its costs.

subrosa said...

Petem, isn't Germany considering closing down nuclear?

I doubt if Eck could back down now. There's too much invested in this. But I agree that, in a country which produces oil, it seems ridiculous power charges will be some of the highest in the western world.

subrosa said...

The cost of wind is now proving horrendous RM. Surely research was done about waste and a resolution made with the Grid before all these farms were erected. I can't believe the SG could be so incompetent.

Joe Public said...

Jo G - please make your mind up.

21:04 you demand that I "Defend YOUR (i.e. my) defence of British Gas" when you yourself admitted you'd wrongly presumed I'd made a defence. [Reminder - re-read your post 16:58 where you admitted it was your presumption.]

21:04 you claim "YOur own argument is shocking." without any explanation.

21:11 You claim "I like a balanced debate.", and as proof you've made statements such as 21:04 "Attack me if you like." where were 'the attacks'?
You do however have a certain debating technique by responding to Petem's post with your so-explanatory "(it's) CRAP" allegation.

subrosa said...

Oh Hamish, I do try not to rant, but the cost of this waste took my breath away.

I can't answer your question because I want to research the cost of biomass fuels. Getting there though and was interested to know that the UK government has bought hundreds of acres of land in Tasmania for their production.

Hamish, there has to be some common sense used in this matter. We've got to have a power source which is affordable to all. There's nothing less dignifying than having to admit you can't pay to keep yourself warm.

I would too but I believe there aren't many sites left that would be suitable for hydro on a large scale. Plenty farmers round here have a wee system if they have water available though.

subrosa said...

But Crinkly, have end-users always had to pay for the waste too to such a degree.

Joe Public said...

@ Hamish 12:00

"Tell me where you disagree with the following:
. burning fossil fuels creates pollution;"

The products of combustion of Natural Gas are CO2 & water vapour. Exactly what you & I breathe out.

[With an extremely apt wv: "undedli"

subrosa said...

Jo, I said that in the context of the 'compensation' companies are receiving for closing down turbines.

The post is about that and also how inefficient turbines are proving to be.

subrosa said...

Hi Joe, glad you mentioned gas - but then you would. ;)

It is a stealth tax right enough.

subrosa said...

Michael, I don't think Hamish would find them so appealing if he saw them out of his windows every day.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that link Billy. Opened my eyes even more.

subrosa said...

Now there's an idea microdave.

subrosa said...

Jo,this post is about the cost of turning off turbines on windy days. I've written often about Hydro and agree with Petem's statement that there are few, if any, sites available now.

subrosa said...

Thank you CH. I'm not in favour of nuclear if we can make renewables cheap enough so as everyone can keep warm in our freezing winters. It's all about balance.

Jo G said...

This is the Scottish Government's consultation paper on "A Hydro Nation". All the more reason why I am surprised that water is not being mentioned here.

I suggest all of you read this: if some on here think water is outdated someone should maybe tell the Scottish Government.

Jo G said...

Joe Public

"when you yourself admitted you'd wrongly presumed "

Where??????? Nowhere is the answer. I said your post made me think you were making a defence on behalf of British Gas. I didn't say I'd changed my mind about that. I also didn't admit anywhere that I'd "wrongly presumed" anything. : )

As for my belief that Petem's statement about only "thimblesful" of nuclear waste was "crap" I will say it again. It is no answer at all to the nuclear waste argument and especially not for future generations who will have to deal with it.

Joe Public said...

@ Jo G 00:06

Which part of "...your post made me (i.e. Jo G) think you were making a defence ...." is NOT a presumption?

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Jo. As I previously said the post was about wind turbines, hence the 'wind' in the title.

microdave said...

@ Jo G (at least I managed to get your "handle" spelt correctly) - Before you accuse me of not caring about future generations, have you considered the outlook for millions of Chinese who are living in horrendously polluted conditions.

Polluted by mining the rare earth materials needed to make useless wind turbines.

It's no good turning the developed world back 300 years to try and stop a degree or two of warming, if the rest of the planet is destroyed in the process...

Yes, I agree that we can't continue the way we are, but the AGW "religion" has made any sort of rational debate impossible - our futures are in just as much danger from IPCC driven lunacy as the supposed "irreversible warming". In any case, the announcement of a possible dramatic cooling due to the lack of Sunspots should give rise for calls to increase CO2 emissions, not reduce them...

cynicalHighlander said...


It's no good turning the developed world back 300 years to try and stop a degree or two of warming, if the rest of the planet is destroyed in the process...

Like this or this or this and many other human activities especially raw sewage into the seas on a daily basis.

Jo G said...

Joe @ 00.06, I still read your original post as a defence of British Gas. I did not admit I had wrongly presumed anything. Your post read that way to me, it still does. : )

Jo G said...

Microdave......sorry about the stray s last time. And thank you for spelling my own name properly. Some people add an e to Jo sometimes.

My position here is that I was alarmed that so many seem to want to go back to everything that wasn't good and even seem to favour nuclear. That shocked me. I'm also surprised that people are almost saying that nothing is happening to the planet right now as a result of the damage we have already done. Various parts of the world are changing dramatically, the evidence is there that something is wrong.

I've also been surprised here, I know Subrosa is chiefly talking about windfarms, but no one was mentioning water as a source of power. On another thread someone said to me water wasn't a player. I don't get that. Water is an existing player and where they created water as a source of power the terrain was redesigned accordingly. The hydro schemes all over the north are a tribute to engineering. Water is indeed a huge player and nowhere more than in Scotland. The Scottish Government certainly thinks so.

You and I can say now, its only a couple of degrees but I think my generation, and the one before us to an extent, are selfish. In my family there are two generations already here with more to follow. I care about them, I care about the nuclear waste building up which cannot be safely disposed of anywhere really. I say that isn't progress. And yet nuclear is referred to often as "clean" even with the life-threatening dangers it brings in the form of waste.

The other thing is that I think my generation (I'm early fifties) are really spoiled when it comes to heat. I remember as a child getting dressed in the kitchen in the morning with the oven on and the oven door open because the coal fire wasn't lit yet. Now we just press a button. When we first got central hearing my father was like a sentry by the control box. He'd say "Put another jumper on!"

Jo G said...

Central hearing? That should be heating obviously ; )

RMcGeddon said...


Hydro provides about 0.6% of the UK energy needs so it isn't much of a player. The environmental damage and building costs of a new hydro scheme would be horrendous. They work in places like China where the govt give the people 24 hrs to get out of dodge but the planning and endless inquiries would make a new hydro scheme a non starter for the UK.
You can check out the various energy sources and their contribution to the UK's needs here..

cynicalHighlander said...

RMcGeddon said...

Hydro provides about 0.6% of the UK energy needs so it isn't much of a player.

Since Scotland has 85% of the Hydro sites our contribution will be higher than 0.6%.

List of power stations in Scotland

Jo G said...

RMcG, as I said earlier, the potential for hydro in Scotland is right now part of the consultation underway. I saw an excellent BBC Scotland (yes honestly!) documentary on Scotland's ability to produce energy a while back. The good thing was it didn't involve politicians but people who knew their subject and it was fascinating. Scotland's natural resources featured heavily. The hilarious thing was that Glenn Campbell chaired the debate and he wasn't best pleased with the facts coming at him.

subrosa said...

I missed that Jo. Was it in the last 2 weeks and would still be on iPlayer?

RMcGeddon said...

Jo. I agree that hydro has a function for small communities but it won't be able to replace the conventional power generation required to supply central Scotland. I looked at the tables that cynical gave me ( thanks cynical - I'll keep that table it's excellent) and see that Longannet coal fired power station has more energy capacity than all of the 70 odd hydro stations combined. I noticed that most of the hydro stations seem to have been built in the 50's and 60's. Probably to provide work after the war ?

subrosa said...

Jo you may find this interesting:

Jo G said...

RMcG, you speak of now. I'm speaking of what could be done. The rivers and lochs in the north weren't exactly where they were needed before we altered them, re-routed them, sent them underground and through tunnels built under sheer rock, built dams and new reservoirs.

You're surely not saying we only did this to provide work after the war and that it was all useless?

Jo G said...

Subrosa sadly no, it was in the last two years. I think I'll drop BBC Scotland a line and ask about it

Jo G said...

"The environmental damage and building costs of a new hydro scheme would be horrendous."

What environmental damage? The environment wasn't damaged in the north through hydro power. They worked through that. I have toured all the schemes and saw no environmental damage.

If you want to see real environmental damage go and look at the nightmare that is the legacy of Dounreay even tho it is now closed. I speak of course of nuclear waste and seawater information which for so many years now have provided worrying radioactivity readings. I speak of the various leaks and one particular programme where we saw a pit of some description which contained waste which was not properly stored. What is it about nuclear that "environmentalists" don't get when it comes to the damage done, not just temporarily but forever because there is nowhere we can safely store the life-threatening waste it leaves behind?

Jo G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo G said...

This is a small piece from an article in the Herald Sept 2010.

"It was once mooted as a site for a museum, a space observatory, a hotel and even a nightclub.

Now plans are being finalised to demolish the Dounreay’s nuclear reactor’s iconic golf- ball dome.

However, it won’t go for another 20 years, and the whole 150-acre Dounreay site is likely to remain closed to the public for almost 300 years after it is decommissioned because of continuing contamination."

Now that's what I call environmental damage.

subrosa said...

Jo, I have a pal who as a young engineer and worked on the Loch Tummel hydro scheme in the 50s. He's told me on more than one occasion that the LT scheme would never have got off the plan paper if it was to be proposed today. It seems the environmentalists did have an input back in the 50s but as he says 'a reasonable input'.

subrosa said...

Yes I've read that too Jo. But really, who would want to visit Dounreay? It's in the middle of nowhere. Only those with an interest in nuclear engineering would be tempted I should think.

Then again, there's always the sightseers right enough.

Like the Loch Tummel project, they may have been blocked from building it if it was proposed today.

RMcGeddon said...

I was just asking if the hydro schemes were built to provide employment as I saw a programme about the building of the Hoover Dam in Nevada during the Great Depression in order to give people employment as well as to provide electricity. 5,000 employed on the project. It's power output is less than Longannet incidentally.
All the EU regs would stop any major hydro schemes from going ahead today. The EU have stopped a £150m redevelopment of Falmouth harbour due to a rare red algae. The Germans couldn't close Falmouth harbour but the EUSSR can do it without firing a shot.
They'd have kittens if there were plans to flood out grannies heilan hame. And think about the rare lesser spotted great crested newts.
So I think small local hydro schemes will get the go ahead but nothing that would be big enough to replace the coal and nuclear power stations that the tree huggers want shut down.

Jo G said...


"nuclear power stations that the tree huggers want shut down".

So for you those who have valid fears about nuclear power are no more than "tree huggers"? I find that astonishing given the known side-effects of nuclear. You still haven't addressed the issue of nuclear waste incidentally.

Subrosa. I know, yet there were plans to turn Dounreay into a, excuse me, "heritage site", a museum with its own visitors centre. Who in their right mind would even want to go near it. And how could such an idea even have been considered when the site itself will be closed to the public for three hundred years?

subrosa said...

Jo, I've been try to find something I read ages ago and can't. But I think it's the soil at Dounreay which is the problem not the actual building. In other words nobody can rebuild on the site.

RMcGeddon said...

You clipped my quote and missed out treehuggers and coal. But that's ok.
What I'm saying is that Fukushima is being used as a scapegoat for the tree huggers who have never liked nuclear power. If heavy water was recommended as a health drink to revive you after a workout they still wouldn't like nuclear power. Switzerland using a tsunami as an excuse to close down it's nuclear sites shows how farcical the whole thing has become.
I'd happily have the worry about storing nuclear waste if it meant I wouldn't freeze to death as our power stations are shut down.
Dounreay has been a popular visitor centre since the 70's. Our school went there on a visit and it was a great day out. There must have been hundreds of thousands of visitors since then.

subrosa said...

Jings RM,I didn't realise you are but a youth!

RMcGeddon said...

Ha ha I wouldn't say that SR. More years now behind than ahead ;)
About the power thing though. This policy of relying more and more on imported nuclear power from France as a stop gap for our crumbling power generation infrastructure is unsustainable. At the least it's unfair dumping on the French population having them take up the burden of nuclear power and all it's associated effects because we don't like it. And we don't like coal either seemingly. Well we don't like anything apart from useless windmills these days and they provide zero output when there's no wind or too much wind.

subrosa said...

RM, was it you who was interested in Rory Stewart's time in the Black Watch? If so I have the correct answer for you.

RMcGeddon said...

That's right SR. We couldn't figure out if it was the TA or a secondment via the foreign office.

Jo G said...

"I'd happily have the worry about storing nuclear waste if it meant I wouldn't freeze to death....."

Small point RMcG, it won't be your worry. It will be the generations behind us who will have the real worry. That's what I mean about selfishness. Who cares eh? We'll all be dead. Brave new world indeed.

Jo G said...

"Jo, I've been try to find something I read ages ago and can't. But I think it's the soil at Dounreay which is the problem not the actual building. In other words nobody can rebuild on the site."

Yes Subrosa. The site is heavily contaminated. But so are parts of the building. The big idea to preserve the dome was abandoned because of on-going maintenance costs to "re-decontaminate" it annually.

subrosa said...

Well RM here's the answer. The MoD offer Gap Year Commissions to the brightest and best. Rory Stewart went for this. He would have done a couple of weeks at Sandhurst then been posted, with officer status, to a Regiment for the remainder of his year.

Around 50% of these students decide to join the army and the other 50% have the year as an accolade on their CV as they move onto greater things. Rory Stewart comes into the later category.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that information Jo, it's a while since I read about it and my memory isn't what it used to be- which was slightly better than it is now. :)

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