Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Is Scotland's Renewables Policy Unrealistic?

Yesterday this part of Scotland was bathed in sunshine: a bright beginning to a New Year. There was little or no wind and although it was around 7 degrees at the height of the day, it felt warmer owing to the lack of the wind chill factor.

Unfortunately the lack of wind wasn't good news for a local small town which depends upon the wind blowing the turbines which decorate a nearby hillside.  The people of this town were bribed into accepting the wind farm by promises of considerable amounts of money, on a regular basis, for years to come.  I'm informed the monetary income has been far short of what was promised and the reason given to the townsfolk is that the 'right kind of wind hasn't blown often enough'.  The wind farm owners     have yet to explain what they mean by the 'right kind' of wind.

But the right kind of wind is possibly just one of their problems.  In a report by Professor Gordon Hughes of the University of Edinburgh, one of the UK's leading energy and environmental economists, one of his findings involved Scotland:

 Analysis of site-­specific performance reveals that the initial load factor of new UK onshore wind farms, normalized for wind availability and size, declined significantly from 2000 to 2011, especially in Scotland.  It seems that progressively worse sites are being developed.

His study highlights three important implications for wind generation policy.  The first suggests that the subsidies are too generous and should be cut. The second mentions the actual life-span of wind turbines which is 12-15 years.  I know the town here which bought into this particular market were sold it on the basis that the turbines would function for a minimum of 25 years.  Professor Hughes' report cuts that by 50%.

It's all well and good for the Scottish Government to have a target of 100% of Scotland's electricity consumption coming from renewables by 2020, but at what cost to Scotland's consumers?  Last month Ed Davey have a speech in Edinburgh where he stated that, in an independent Scotland, Scottish consumers would have to bear excessive costs for power.  Westminster scaremongering aside, he is not the first to say that costs would be even higher than currently, the Renewable Energy Foundation warned  the government a year ago that the impact on the Scottish consumer would be approximately £300 per household, of which about £140 would be for subsidy alone.

There's also the question of what happens to these turbines once their productive life is over. This should be addressed as soon as possible because planners need to start being honest with people who are affected by wind turbines.  The Scottish public should be told the cost of dismantling and disposing of these massive machines.  It could make the suggested £300 seem very optimistic.

Alex Salmond and his government must re-examine their energy policy now that further evidence is available regarding wind farms.  To allow further wind farm developments in the light of Professor Hughes' findings would be irresponsible.


Woodsy42 said...

Not just a Scottish problem SR, although your Mr S has put you in the highest cost category.

Happy new year.

Peter A Bell said...

People seem to have a problem grasping the rather obvious fact that onshore wind generation was never going to be a long-term solution. A market for renewables had to be created and nurtured. Onshore wind turbines offered the only viable technology at the time. Had the Scottish Government not chosen to fully support commercial-scale development of wind farms we would not now be in a position to make the transition to offshore generation.

Had the market for renewables not been established using onshore wind, there would have been little or no incentive for the accelerated development of marine energy technology.

There is no magic way of getting to where we want to be in terms of clean, reliable and affordable energy. It is a process. The Scottish Government is to be congratulated for recognising this fact and for not indulging in the kind of short-termism that tends to blight policy-making.

cynicalHighlander said...

Anonymously peer-reviewed!

Scottish Renewables responds to REF report on wind farm economic lifespan

“Let’s also remember that Gordon Hughes’ previous research on wind energy has been described by the UK Energy Research Council’s Dr Robert Gross and others at Imperial College, London as “economically irrational, a nonsense scenario” and “economically absurd, spurious and misleading”.

JRB said...

The immediate and succinct answer to your question “Is Scotland's Renewables Policy Unrealistic”? – is of course Yes!

All the evidence has shown that the scientific and technical development has lagged far behind expectation or need; and the cost effectiveness of such systems is never discussed lest it frightens the natives.

But in all truth this whole topic has gone far beyond wind turbines and wave machines.
The subject mater has become an irrelevance; we could just as easily be discussing renewable purple widgets.
Our politicians in all their wisdom have decreed that there will be renewable energy by 2020.
So, regardless of the science, the cost or public opinion there will be renewable systems – the politicians have spoken – renewables by 2020 - and that is their final word.

For if the politicians were to accept the truth and admit that they have gone down the wrong road – think of the loss of face – the loss of credibility – the loss of voters support - the loss of their seats.

No! All that is unthinkable. We are stuck with renewables.

Peter A Bell said...

ThE Scottish Government's target is not, as stated here, "100% of Scotland's electricity consumption coming from renewables by 2020". The actual target is that the EQUIVALENT of 100% of requirement should come from renewables. The intention is to move to a situation where renewables constitute a major component of a MIXED generation capacity.

Elby the Beserk said...

Wind farm disaster predicted

The Renewable Energy Foundation [1] today published a new study, The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark,[2] showing that the economic life of onshore wind turbines is between 10 and 15 years, not the 20 to 25 years projected by the wind industry itself, and used for government projections.

The work has been conducted by one of the UK’s leading energy & environmental economists, Professor Gordon Hughes of the University of Edinburgh[3], and has been anonymously peer-reviewed. This groundbreaking study applies rigorous statistical analysis to years of actual wind farm performance data from wind farms in both the UK and in Denmark.

The results show that after allowing for variations in wind speed and site characteristics the average load factor of wind farms declines substantially as they get older, probably due to wear and tear. By 10 years of age the contribution of an average UK wind farm to meeting electricity demand has declined by a third.

This decline in performance means that it is rarely economic to operate wind farms for more than 12 to 15 years. After this period they must be replaced with new machines, a finding that has profound consequences for investors and government alike.

Anonymous said...

We need the facts, not political biased anti wind farm spin. There may not have been much wind where you were, but it's been blowing well here in the north east of Scotland. The facts speak for themselves. 35% of electricity in 2011 provided by renewables the bulk of that produced by land based wind.

Land based wind turbines will provide the cheapest electricity in the near future. The cost of everything else is set to go sky high. Fracking will be a short term blip, a flash in the pan providing minimal respite from the cost of energy.

.. but the subsidy you cry .. Investment! I would call it .. we would not get anywhere if we did not invest in renewables .. Only the Scottish government has the long term commitment. The UK government wants .. ahem ,, to invest in new nuclear .. that will be the biggest subsidy of them all.

Anonymous said...

Why would we dispose of the turbines after 15 years? It would be a far more sensible idea to refurbish them when required. This 'cost disposing of' is a red herring predicated on them costing more than other forms of energy production. I'm just not buying it.

Joe Public said...

I just wish those promoting "Renewable Energy" had to exist with it alone. Unsubsidised & un-supplemented by reliable, predictable, conventional sources.

Those greedy companies & individuals who offered their land as "Subsidy Farms" on which to accommodate the turbines, should be forced to honour their financial pledges to affected communities who agreed to allow the developments in return for bribes.

'themidgies' is deluded - firstly with the comment "Land based wind turbines will provide the cheapest electricity in the near future." I invite him/her to give a simple "yes" or "no" answer to the question: 'Would you equip a hospital with wind turbines as its ONLY power source?'

The fact that wind turbines produce some 'free' electricity, some of the time, does not make them "the cheapest". There is a difference between low cost and best value.

Secondly, would he/she substantiate from a knowledgeable source, the comment "....Fracking will be a short term blip .."

Sobers said...

@Peter A Bell: I have read and re-read your statement several times and still can't make head nor tail of it. What exactly is 'equivalent to 100% of requirement', if not actually 100% of requirement?

Anonymous said...

@Joe Public you asked "Would you equip a hospital with wind turbines as its ONLY power source?"

What an absurd question.

Wind power is only part of the renewables and non renewables mix right now. In future as non renewable resources decline or become too expensive we will be using the power from tidal energy, wave energy, hydro energy and wind energy. We will be interconnected with the rest of Europe (It's happening now) so that when all of our resources are not providing quite enough energy we will import the energy from sources such as hydro in Norway. ..but to be honest Scotland is so well endowed with renewable resources that we will never stop exporting energy to those less fortunate countries.

EU wide grid:

On fracking: "This fracking fantasy is the delusion of fossil fuel addiction"

One more thing regarding investment. "Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, has backed wind power subsidies. "People forget the government supported the oil and gas supply chain in its early days: with generous tax incentives, training programmes, strategic infrastructure; and supportive regulation," he said in 2011. "The result today is a world leading industry, creating jobs in manufacturing and engineering across the UK.""

Lord Monty said...

This windmill scam has lumbered on for longer than most expected. I suspect it's because the msm refuse to challenge any of the claims made by the windfarmers and just print whatever they are told. If they immediately divided any claimed energy output by 4 ( load factor 25%) and asked how much the land owner was trousering then the scam would die off earlier.
Oh and constantly reminded people that the windfarmers need 100% back up from power stations and produce nothing when it's most required...during the cold high pressure winters.
Oh and Happy New Year SR :)

cynicalHighlander said...

Joe Public

Secondly, would he/she substantiate from a knowledgeable source, the comment "....Fracking will be a short term blip .."

#3 - Is Shale Oil Production from Bakken Headed for a Run with “The Red Queen”?

Apogee said...

I think that there is a mistaken idea regarding renewable energy, the water and the wind may be free, but the actual generating equipment most certainly is not. Once the power is generated the cost of moving it to where it is to be used is the same.But it seems from some reports that it is cheaper moving power through the network if you are generating in the south of England than the North of Scotland and this seems to be to be due to pricing structures on the power grid and nothing to do with physics.Anyone have the full story on this?
Once generated the needs of a power grid are the same, costs are the same. Wind generators are not cheap, they have to be maintained and serviced like any machine and it seems that like so much of the "windustry",fiction is more in play
than fact. Round the world there are many thousands of wind generators where the owners/operators have walked away because the maintainance/operation is no longer economical and the cheapest option IS to walk away.
Without subsidies the industry is
UN-sustainable and my fear is that even with the mega-bucks being spent, the system will be terminally uneconomic and that one day, the lights, the central heating (needs electricity to run) the TV and most of civilisation will stop. Ever thought how much of your/our food delivery/supply needs power? Freezers, computers,lighting,transport round warehouses, have a think, you may be surprised where it is needed.
And our elected representatives are choosing to force on us the most unreliable system possible.Why do you think ships no longer use wind power?(sails). Because it was no longer economically reliable!
Oh, and don't forget the banks and all their computers, the ones that handle your pay, that handle the supermarket payments that pay for the food you buy, and it goes on!
And why are the powers that be pushing this? why, the "Green Movement",which is worth a lot of money, by the way, ask Tim Yeo, Al Gore ,just for two ,and Greenpeace,and there are a lot more.They can make a lot of noise about "green issues" and a lot of politicians nod their heads sagely
without really knowing what they are agreeing about or to. And we pay the bills for their folly.
And remember also that the power output marked on the casing of a wind generator is the maximum it can generate, but in practice the average due to wind strength variation is about 30%.Would you buy a car which would only give 30% average that the salesman said? When you realised you would be looking for the salesman for the answers to a few questions. You wouldn't buy the same again. Would you? Seems on your behalf the politicians are!

Brian said...

I thought the "equivalent to 100% of requirement" was the development of a system in which 200% of requirement for Scotland was generated by a mix of renewable and economic generating plant and the renewably generated green electricity surplus was sold to the gullible Sassenachs in order to help them keep their lights on and meet their stupid government's EU renewables requirement. Scotland meanwhile keeps the 24/7 100% reliable gas and hydro electricity north of the border.

Joe Public said...

@ themidgies 15:07

"........... to be honest Scotland is so well endowed with renewable resources that we will never stop exporting energy to those less fortunate countries."

That's some pipe dream.

The Peterhead-Bergen Interconnect will only work where there's a difference in price, and that price will keep fluctuating throughout the day. It won't be operational until 2020 /21 at the earliest (if ever); and the capital cost is currently estimated to be in the region of £1.5 billion. [And capital-intensive projects like that have a spectacular track record of initial underestimation, simply to encourage the ball to start rolling!]

If Scotland's "always going to be exporting", are you stating it'll be 100% self-sufficient, and never at any time have to import?

@ cynicalHighlander 15:51 said...

"#3 - Is Shale Oil Production from Bakken Headed for a Run with “The Red Queen”?"

I'm puzzled by your link about Shale Oil production, at Bakken, North Dakota, USA ??

Here's a knowledgeable estimate of the UK's resources:-

Similarly, from the British Geological Survey map of shale formations:-

Anonymous said...

The equivalent of 35% of Scotland's electricity was generated using renewable resources in 2011 using Scottish renewables.

Due to grid balancing UK wide, some of that electricity was exported to England.

Hence equivalent.

Let's look forward 50 years. How much do you think you will be paying for gas to burn in power stations to produce electricity? It will bring tears to our eyes I would think.

If we invest now we can in future be producing vast amounts of electricity from tidal energy. Tidal relies on the moon's gravity dragging on the oceans. It's quite a regular thing I hear.

.. but isn't the wind awful :) .. one minute it's hardly blowing at all and the next it's blowing your wig clean off! .. When the wind blow we can be exporting our surplus energy or we can be converting it into hydrogen for powering our cars. .. in the not too distant future.

What are you guys going to do when we can't afford to burn gas and oil? I suppose we can burn coal like in the good old days .. Steam engines anyone?

Key bored warrior. said...

It is incredible to watch comments on the subject and even authors of articles such as this who wilfully ignore that fact that we have since the 1950s been right royally shafted by the Nuclear industry and their admirable ability yo extract billions and billions in tax payers money subsidies without hardly a whimper from the tax payer. And as a result of their filthy activities we will continue to pump more billions in to cleaning up their mess for the next several hundred years. The fact that the Nuclear generation industry has been since it's inception been inextricably linked to WMDs, has paved the way for the massive con it has perpetrated on us that leaves any subsidy given to renewables in the shade.
If Nuclear were to be allowed to take to the field again in Scotland,all that would do would be to create a massive black hole that would suck in all the available subsidies and R&D money to the total exclusion of all others. Scotland is admired and lauded internationally for it's far sighted renewables work and investments. It will pave the way for a cleaner greener country and help to re industrialise our industries that were gutted by London politics. The Hydro industry being but one example.

Brian said...

A propos the conversion of surplus wind-generated electricity to hydrogen and its necessary liquefaction, may I remind readers of Scot James Dewar, who pioneered liquefaction of gases and invented the Dewar Flask? It's unfairly named the Thermos Flask, btw.

Joe Public said...

@ themidgies 18:38

1. The equivalent of 35% of Scotland's electricity was generated using renewable resources in 2011 using Scottish renewables.

That sounds impressive. Was that each and every second of each & every day; or, at times when that amount actually wasn't wanted & so had to be dumped?

BTW - you mention exports 'to England'; did your source also give 'imports from England'?. I wonder what the relevant ratios were?

I recommend this site to show exactly which sources are providing your electricity, in real-time.

Sometime wind supplies 10% of our needs; sometimes that same day it may be supplying less than 0.1% of our needs. This irregular unpredictability forces us to maintain conventional power stations running; and, at lower efficiency than they would normally have to, to match the rapid variability-swing. Wind-power actually increases CO2 production over time.

You suggest "looking forward 50 years", with your supposition (prices) would 'bring tears to our eyes'.

Firstly - look back 50 years - the relative cost of energy then was greater than it is now.

Secondly, there's what's known as 'the price of discovery'. As prices rise, previously-discovered fields of gas & oil are announced - i.e. their production becomes viable.

Thirdly - guess how the discovery & exploitation of shale gas in the US has affected natural gas prices? It's not kept them steady; it's not reduced them by 10% - 20%; there's been a massive 70% reduction. And the UK is sat upon massive reserves of the cleanest, most efficient, most practical fuel/energy source available. Time to rejoice.

Lord Monty said...

keyboard...Sotland's greenieness is lauded by the windmill makers and Al Gore etc. Not exactly a roaring vote of confidence.
Our scenery won't be lauded for much longer that's for sure.

Germany and the US are seeing the error of their ways and switching to coal and shale respectively ( present green subsidies to be used up first of course). 23 New coal power stations in Germany on plan.

I wouldn't worry about nuclear and coal as the SNP are phasing them out. No idea where the 65% energy loss will come from. Nuclear power from France via the inter connector no doubt.

It's the fibs about windpower that are so annoying.
Take Whitelees for example. It's website says....

"The windfarm has 140 turbines which can generate 322MW of electricity, enough to power 180,000 homes"

Yet the output from the windmill farm has never exceeded 24% of maximum capacity. And was 13% one year.....

This playing with us is replicated across the windmill world and is never challenged. Giving them extra money for expansions on a false premise.

I doubt if our politicians who sign away our money and scenery have the slightest idea what a 'load factor' is or how much concrete each windmill base takes or how devastating the rare earth mines are in China that are needed for the gearboxes.

Offshore will be a bigger catastrophe and will multiply the costs 4 times.

Anonymous said...

@Joe Public

Interesting page you link but not as interesting as this one showing the real time export of electricity onto the grid from Scotland to England: (look on the right hand column)

... and we have hardly begun to exploit our renewables potential.

I already explained to you that the intermittency of the wind will be mitigated by tidal and hydro, by EU wide grid balancing and by storing the energy as hydrogen for example. Wind turbines wont go away though because they will producing relativity cheaper electricity into the future.

.. but on your fracked future:

"UK shale gas is more lead balloon than silver bullet"

"Shale gas from UK fracking might, with state help and many years from now, produce a relatively small amount of gas, which won't reduce gas prices and would bust our carbon budgets unless emissions are expensively buried. ....if all the environmental concerns are addressed, especially methane leakage. But as I think the analysis above shows clearly it's not so much a silver bullet as a lead balloon."

Elby the Beserk said...

themidgies said...


Sorry. That's utter bollocks. Not even the wind people claim that,

If wind hits 5% in a week, it's VERY unusual.

35%! That's a downright lie. Citation please, other than your say so. Not to mention that wind needs permanent fossil fuel backup.

Scheesh. Green brain-washing.

Elby the Beserk said...

themidgies said...


Sorry. That's utter bollocks. Not even the wind people claim that,

If wind hits 5% in a week, it's VERY unusual.

35%! That's a downright lie. Citation please, other than your say so. Not to mention that wind needs permanent fossil fuel backup.

Scheesh. Green brain-washing.

Elby the Beserk said...

Anonymous said...

@Elby the Beserk
I'm talking about Scotland not UK ..
See here:

Good progress don't you think? Look also at the chart that shows the amount that wind contributes to the renewables mix.

cynicalHighlander said...

Joe Public

When did US physics differ from UK physics?

The whole shale industry is a financial scam sucking investors money in including vast amounts of taxpayers money to stand still. The TOD is written and commented on by those directly involved in the drilling industry and as such will generally give a truer picture than the majority of the MSM.

cynicalHighlander said...

N.Ireland to Great Britain: -252MW
France to Great Britain: 1492MW
Netherlands to GB: 994MW
02/01/2013 20:00:00 GMT

North-South: 8704MW
Scot - Eng: 2524MW
02/01/2013 20:27:00 GMT

Looks like England is short of over 5,000MW

I belive that Hunterston has been shutdown for over 3 months producing no power only sucking power to keep it relatively safe that is why electricity is so expensive.

subrosa said...

Yes it's expensive Woodsy and will become more so.

Happy New Year to you too.

subrosa said...

If that is the case Peter, why are these farms still being built?

People don't have a problem grasping the fact - politicians have a problem because they never explained that to the public.

Marine technology research has been underway long before windfarms sprung up everywhere so that's a poor excuse. Marine developed from the excellent hydro systems installed in the 50s and now uses much more modern methods.

No, there's certainly no magic way, with that I agree, but scaring our landscapes so brutally and for short term gain for a few, seems rather silly.

'Not indulging in short-termism'? Isn't installing windfarms which will last no longer than 15 years short-termism?

subrosa said...

Erm CH, the UK Energy Research Council is a quango which is there to support government decisions.

I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the two opinions.

subrosa said...

Exactly JRB and at any cost because their ambitions rate far higher than the extra financial burden which will be put on every Scot.

We are stuck with it although there has been little mention of other types of renewables.

subrosa said...

My apologies Peter, I should have put that in quotes as it came from another source. Of course there has been little mention of anything other than on or off shore wind.

subrosa said...

Aye Elby and that study isn't the only one to state that wind farms don't last more than 15 years. Plenty US studies have shown the same for some years now.

subrosa said...

Themidgies, I'm in Perthshire and there was no wind yesterday and only a light breeze today. Last week we had high winds - too high for the turbines I was told.

I don't believe turbines will provide the cheapest electricity in the future. That's what we'll be told though.

Investment? OK but the investment's not for Scotland because most of the businesses involved are foreign.

subrosa said...

The midgies, this may interest you:

subrosa said...

Me too Joe, although I do know a couple of farms which are totally self-sufficient. Of course that's because needs must in their cases.

subrosa said...

Well said Monty. A Happy New Year to you too. :)

subrosa said...

Excellent comment Apogee.

subrosa said...

Ah Brian, you're more informed than me. I thought we were stepping away from gas.

subrosa said...

The midgies, I'd be interested to know how much of Scotland's electricity was generated using renewables in say 1970.

Hydro has been producing quite a percentage since the 50s.

Anonymous said...

@ Subrosa
When you say no or little wind are you able to view a local windfarm? You will find that although at our height there does not seem to be much wind, up where the turbine blades are there is a good amount. Of course it varies but nevertheless .. it still works as I've pointed to the stats don't lie. take a look a at charts 4 and 5 here

High winds you say? We also get serious winds here. I have seen only a couple of turbines stopped in those conditions while the rest were going great guns. So I suspect one or two turbines were shut down for over capacity on the grid, but only for a short time.

I agree it is a shame that we are not building or managing these turbines but who is to blame for that situation? Previous Scottish governments and of course the usual suspects in London. Manufacturing is coming back to Scotland in this very area under the current Scottish government.

Would you be in favour of them if more were built in Scotland?

Possibly not .. You have this crazy notion that they are not good looking and don't blend in to the Scottish countryside. I can confirm that given the correct location, you are, well, just wrong about that. :)

Joe Public said...

@ themidgies 20:17

Thanks for the N-S link, I wasn't aware that data existed. Seems it's a good job we're all part of the UK, sharing the Scottish bounty, eh.

@ cynicalHighlander 20:26 & 20:31

1. The extraction physics are probably similar, I just wondered why you introduced a US shale-oil opinion into a UK shale-gas discussion.

2. Surely a huge additional discovery & supply of a commodity which will dramatically reduce unit prices is a good thing? If prices have reduced, how can you claim it is "...a financial scam sucking investors money in.." BTW, investors make their choice freely; unlike all UK electricity consumers who have to massively subsidise wind- & solar generation.

As a parting shot...........

What's the point in trying to reduce CO2, there's been no Global Warming for 16 of the past 18 years, despite significant year-on-year increases in atmospheric CO2?

Russia has this week now joined the US, China and India in refusing to commit themselves to expensive reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

subrosa said...

I'd agree hydro is a good example KBW, but of course hydro's been around for a long time now. Wind hasn't and it's now being shown that turbines are short term solutions - expensive ones at that.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Brian.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the stats CH.

subrosa said...

Yes I'm able to view a local windfarm the midgies if I drive a few miles. I know people who see it every day though and they say the propellors have not turned in two days. Last week they didn't turn for nearly 3 days because the wind was too strong.

Living near the Grampians makes unusual weather patterns so perhaps that's part of the problem. I must say many of the local townsfolk aren't impressed by the performance of their local windfarm, although most of them were in favour of it initially.

No I don't want to see our lovely countryside scared by more of these. Visitors are already mentioning the blot they make on the landscape and I wouldn't like my country to be famed for having once had the most wonderful scenery but now has the biggest density of wind turbines.

Of course they don't 'blend in'. Neither do pylons. But I'm realistic enough to realise there have to be concessions - sensible ones.

Lord Monty said...

Hydro is pointless as well SR. I looked at the figures a while ago and found the 72 hydro projects in the UK provided less energy than one coal powered station. For massive devastation to the countryside.
It's good for little islands or isolated farms I suppose. As long as the river doesn't dry up or flood...oh hang on.

Lord Monty said...

I found a 'good' video of life next to a wind farm SR if you want to pop over. Wee dram waiting as well ;)

Anonymous said...

@Joe Public

Remember the hole in the ozone layer? Caused by humans using CFCs. Fixed by humans banning CFCs by international agreement.

It's not unexpected that our activity can have a big effect on the environment.

In 1950 there were a mere 2.5 billion people on earth. Now there are nearly 7 billion. It was all very well I suppose when there was a limited number of people using energy and resources like there was no tomorrow. .. but now China , India and Brazil are joining the party. That's a massive increase co2 production.

The earth will do what the earth has always done. That is: cycle between warm periods and ices ages over hundreds of thousands of years, but I also believe that the activities of humans, burning, consuming, multiplying must be speeding our way to a big change in our weather patterns. Violent weather? Rising sea levels? Melting icecaps? (the source of fresh water for many) Undoubtedly.

" climate change in Asia is losing the “Water Tower of Asia,” which consists of the glaciers in the Tibetan mountains. Yan believes that within 30-40 years the entire basin area, comprising hundreds of millions of people, will experience a severe water shortage because of the loss of melting glaciers"

So, although I am more interested in keeping the cost of energy in the future down, creating jobs in a sustainable industry and providing a way for Scotland to benefit from our renewable energy potential, I also think we will be blazing a trail to a sustainable future that the whole world must follow.

Lord Monty said...

themidgies..I doubt if the hundreds of high altitude nuclear explosions during the testing period did the ozone layer much good either.
Oh and the melting glaciers nonsense is so last year mate. Debunked and forgotten.

Joe Public said...

@ themidgies 00:22

We're in total & absolute agreement:- "The earth will do what the earth has always done. That is: cycle between warm periods and ices ages over hundreds of thousands of years,.. "

The ozone hole is mainly caused by chlorine (that well-known original 'poison gas') from human-produced chemicals.

This country (and many others) is wasting £billions trying to reduce emissions of a life-supporting trace-gas, CO2, increases of which actually improve plant life.

"In 1950 there were a mere 2.5 billion people on earth. Now there are nearly 7 billion."

So you'd actively recommend Scotland to copy & impose China's 1-child policy?

Lord Monty beat me to it with the fact that the original IPCC scare story of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 has, along with many of their other false predictions, been well & truly debunked nearly 2 years ago.

subrosa said...

I don't think hydro has massively destroyed the countryside Monty. In fact the Pitlochry scheme has enhanced it I would say and the buildings involved are splendid architectural specimens.

However the population there is sparse compared with the cities. I can remember the public outrage when that particular scheme was mooted and yet visitors from all over the world have been going to see it for decades now.

Thanks for the link to the video. I'll go and watch it right now.

Key bored warrior. said...

Hi Rosie, if you read The Hydro Boys by Emma Wood it gives you a terrific insight in to the machinations and politics that killed Hydro in Scotland. We were once again stripped of an essential industry to satisfy the insane ideology of a Tory government we never voted for. There is as much Hydro capacity left in Scotland as has been developed. You are correct on Pitlochry. It took almost 25 years of planning objections to overcome to put the Hydro scheme there. Most of these objections came from the vested interests of coal, the NUM and Gerald Nabaro who was King Coal as he represented thousands of miners in his constituency. Once more Scotland had to dance to the tune of England. Scotland could have been self sufficient in Hydro and coal decades ago with no Nuclear. That is the Nuclear you fail to mention Rosie like so many others you turn the Nelsonian eye to it as it has been one of the most expensive cons ever perpetrated on us, and all at the insistence of the USA. And we will leave a nasty toxic legacy to our kids with it. Dounreay and Sellafield are forecast to be toxic for hundreds of years. There are ponds full of toxic filth in Sellafield that had to change it's name to Windscale, that no one has a clue what to do with and they do not know exactly what is in them. Clean energy my arse.
Please try and accept that Scotland is not covered with wind turbines and never will be. Just because some saddo behind a keyboard says so it is not true. As is the remarks made that Hydro has decimated the country side. It is just nonsense. Whitlee near me has had to extend their car park to cope with the visitors they now get every weekend. It is a fantastic facility with miles of tracks where thousands of people now roam freely in a part of Lanarkshire that would never receive a visitor. Except the occasional visitor to a Covenanter monument. People cycle and walk their dogs there and use the excellent cafe and information centre on site.
You refer to the fact that you have seen some turbine blades not turning. If you lived with in sight of Torness, a facility built for political reasons, how would you tell that one of it's reactors has been idle now for over a year due to fracturing and an explosion. There are no revolving blades to tell you and the industry certainly will never tell you due to it's inbred default position of secrecy. Hunterston is also having the same problems as both these facilities struggle to stay alive on an extended and dangerous life cycle.
The 200ft deep shaft at Dounreay they filled with waste has now begun to contaminate the local water table, you won't find that in The Scotsman or Telegraph. I know people who work there.
Just imagine Rosie a network of generators that produce energy for free from the wind that manufactures Hydrogen. You pull up at the pump and fill your car, with a fuel that produces water as waste. During the night the turbines are turning as you sleep producing more. Or they may be sending electricity to a pumped hydro scheme somewhere, so that in the morning when you switch on your kettle there is plenty power. That is the prize we are aiming for. The technology exists right now to do this, hydrogen cars are with us. Pumped hydro is with us. All it takes is a political vision, and will to kick start it all, and overcome the vested interests of Nuclear, Oil and Coal, that are very very powerful. Wind turbines are but one fraction of an overall energy policy that seeks to put clean sustainable power at the top of our countries agenda.Scotland has that vision, we just need to take the next step and vote for self government to grasp the gold medal.

pa_broon74 said...

No idea about the actual costs of wind/hydro/tidal versus nuclear/coal/gas.

Having lived in the shadow of a coal fired power station, I know which I prefer.

I also think (a belief I have) that any form of power generation would need subsidised (someone mentioned 'investment' earlier which I think is more apt.) The idea that we wouldn't be having the same arguments about coal or gas stations in terms of costs to the consumer is I think, optimistic.

I think new power generation should be more forward looking, taking onshore wind in isolation, it does seem short sited, but then you wouldn't have carbon capture on new coal fired stations (for example) without first having coal fired stations with out it.

I think there is too much emotion in this argument, to much ideology and entrenched views.

I don't beleive in the global warming scam but I do think we need to be a bit more thoughtful about how we do things, I also think we'd be getting fleeced by any industry that produced consumer electricity (thank the tories in the 80's for that.)

As I said, having lived with a coal fired power station, including the mining and fueling infrastructure, I'd far rather have wind turbines.

Folks complaining about wind farms on local hillsides are actually quite lucky, I mean, if you had to have something generating power on your doorstep, what would you choose?

subrosa said...

Hi KBW, I'll definitely get that book because a couple of years ago I decided to make a photo library of all the building connected with the Tummel hydro.

I'm not turning a blind eye to nuclear but I'm not up to date with the current facts of storage etc, My fault. (I remember writing a thesis about it way back in the 70s and even then I argued against it, but much has changed since then).

You say Scotland's not covered with windmills. Can I say I meet many visitors to Scotland each year and last year I would say around 50% of them mentioned the windfarms. Only a few didn't object to their location in regard to the scenery. It seems that some people find windfarms attractive but certainly overseas visitors do not.

As I said, I know a few people in the town which was supposedly to be 'benefiting' from having a windfarm and it's from them I receive my information. They feel they've been conned about the amount of money they would be adding to the town's coffers.

Of course all that's political.

The public need to know more about all renewables. How do they store wind for example?

Sadly I'm an old pessimist and don't believe that renewables will reduce bills. Maybe I'm becoming too cynical. :)

subrosa said...

Good points there pa_broon. Many thanks.

I think wind turbines can create their own problems for those who live closeby though.

Anonymous said...

Q How do they store wind power?

A: They can use it to fill dams for hydro power (pump storage).. but in the near future they might also convert it to hydrogen.. the technology is already available. At the moment they just add it to the grid.

Q: Will renewables reduce bills?

A: Only relative to non renewable generation. Prices are going up, they will continue to go up regardless of the method of power generation. It's a question of which methods increases bills the least.

A good link was posted above:

"Renewables offer lower bills than gas and nuclear says new report" 03 January 2013

"The report from the Committee on Climate Change, advisers to the UK Dept of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), concludes that household energy bills will be about £600 higher per year by the end of the decade if the UK relies increasingly on gas, whilst they would only be around £100 higher than today’s average if the UK concentrated on renewable power generation."

pa_broon74 said...

I just can't quite bring myself to believe anything coming from something calling itself the 'committee on climate change', I just can't help but feel they have as much of a vested interest as say, the nuclear lobby or fossil fuel crowd.

Same goes for these reports, who's funding them? This is where the science seems to leave the building and all the vested interests flood in...

Which is annoying because I would much prefer renewables to oil/gas/nuclear alternatives, they just seem more sensible. Even if they were more expensive and providers where honest about it, I'd still have them over o/g/n generation.

Brian said...

"Ah Brian, you're more informed than me. I thought we were stepping away from gas".

Rosie, That's a good policy, as I was reminded this New Year why Jasmin the Labrador isn't allowed even one leftover sprout.;(

Barney Thomson said...

Joe Public at 01:11 -

Your Telegraph link which "debunks" the retreat of the Tibetan plateau glaciers is not about Tibet. It is about the dirty, reflective and western facing glaciers of the Karakorum.

This article includes information about the Tibetan glaciers -

Key bored warrior. said...

To add to my comments above. For anyone who thinks that Nuclear should be the way forward for Scotland take a look at the following articles:

cynicalHighlander said...

Nuclear was always about producing weapons of mass destruction which is why the US etc are so worried about Iran and its route down this road which has sweet FA to do about electricity production.

subrosa said...

Many thanks for the links KBW. I appreciate the points you make and also the time you've taken to contribute so well to the debate.

subrosa said...

There could be something in what you say CH.

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