Scotland aims for 100% renewable energy

I thought readers would be interested in Scottish plans to go 100% renewable by 2020 – shutting down their nuclear electricity generators. Making Scotland the Green Energy Capital of Europe – I thought other countries might have made that claim in the past – I wonder what readers think.

11 comments to Scotland aims for 100% renewable energy

  • Dr K.A. Rodgers

    I received a pertinent comment from an energy expert the other day: “The problem is planners can not use wind power as either peak or base load.”

    I would recast that as: “The problem is the too many advocates of currently available renewable energy sources do not understand about ‘peak’ and ‘baselaod’ power requirements in modern societies.” Certainly neither solar nor wind cut the mustard for either requirement.

  • Dave N

    “The legacy we must leave future generations is a world where invention and innovation is used to harness the earth’s natural resources sustainably. And it is in wind, wave and tidal energy..”

    I’m sure those words will be ringing in the ears of the Scots for decades to come.

  • Philip Bradley

    Scotland does have a number of pumped storage hydro-electric systems, and could easily build more – plenty of U-shaped glacial valleys in Scotland. So I’d say 100% ‘renewables’ is probably technically feasible (although with a fairly low availability), but god knows how much it will cost. Solar is a non-starter. Not enough sunlight in the winter. Which leaves wind and wave power (and hydro-electric). In 30 years, wave power has never got to even subsidized commercial viability. So that leaves wind.

    I recall a summer 30 or so years ago in the UK, when the usual north/south summer weather was reversed and northern Scotland had months of blue skies and calm weather. Were such a summer to re-occur when wind was the main source of electricity, they would have to shut down the entire grid.

  • Graeme Inkster

    They should call it the Darien scheme – Mark 2.

    It would have the same effect.

  • Steve Crook

    I’ll get the snarky remark out of the way first, and that’s if they can’t build a tram system for Edinburgh on time (let alone on budget) there’s almost no hope of this flying. As Phillip Bradley says, they could do significant quantities of pumped storage which might go some way to providing the baseload capacities they’ll require. But it’s a hugely ambitious scheme with some equally huge risks, particularly if the rest of the UK won’t be there to pick up the tab.

    In any event, you have to consider that what Salmond is really playing for is the independence of Scotland, and he’ll accentuate the positive to try and make that happen. Whatever else you may think of him, he’s a consummate politician (in both the good and bad senses) and has shown himself to be at least the equal of anyone south of the border.

    As an aside, there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland would just inherit EU membership. There are strong suggestions that’d they’d have to do what any other country would have to do, and apply….

  • I think that they are dreaming again in Scotland of the days of Bonny Prince Charlie when all the peasants needed was a pile of peat. If they want to continue in the Modern Era, they will be hard pressed to survive sustainability. In Scotland the low sun and frequent clouds rule out solar power. Tidal Power is not yet even a starter. Even if the covered Scotland in windmills, the unreliability of wind power and the difficulties of its power storage would leave a lot of people burning wood again in winter to keep from freezing to death. I doubt that the prospect of flooding Scottish Lochs with water to store wind-power would be acceptable Land of the Brave. I do not think that they have done their sums yet on either power potential or probable costs, which is unusual for the Scots. Let us hope that the dawn will alight on the fabrication of CAGW before they commit their hard earned cash.

  • David Brewer

    No energy is renewable (second law of thermodynamics). What they mean is energy sources that are not used up by being used. In practice, this means avoiding fuels, and instead capturing raw energy and transforming it into electricity.

    The idea sounds great as raw energy is “free” – the wind, the waves, the sun etc.

    The first problem is that it is much more expensive to capture raw energy where it happens to be available than to mine fuels and burn them where you want energy. The second problem is that the amount of raw energy available at any given time is out of your control. The third problem is that most raw energy sources are unpredictable – especially wind.

    There are quite a few other problems too. The one that really shows the blinkers people wear these days – and the power of that one misunderstood word – is that capturing raw energy has a far greater environmental impact than burning fuels. Wind requires the installation of turbines on cheap land. This means putting huge, noisy, high-maintenance machines in rural or wilderness areas. Solar means depriving the ground of sunlight. Even hydro requires flooding.

    So, with its small population, deep valleys and windy climate, Scotland might be able to get to 100% renewables – by defacing the highlands with turbines and drowning the valleys with dams. Alternatively, they could meet all their energy needs more reliably and at a fraction of the cost with a handful of power stations that you would never notice unless you drove past them.

    If only common sense were “renewable”!

  • Philip Bradley

    In Scotland, wind farms are being paid very large sums to switch off their power because the grid can’t handle it.

    www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/9490712/Energy-companies-overcharge-customers-by-600m.html

  • The best case anyone can make for Scotland not going for independence is the lunacy of the Scottish politicians that have turned a once proud nation into a world-wide laughing stock.

    Scotland is a cold country … trying to stop a small and largely insignificant warming (*given the larger natural variation) is about as daft as … as daft as you can get.

  • Graeme Inkster

    Somewhat off topic but from Bishop Hill;

    Who were the sceptics circa 2000? John Daley was one of their bogey men:

    www.john-daly.com/index.htm

    On whose death in 2004 Phil Jones remarked “…this is cheering news.” (CG1: 1075403821.txt)

    Also Garth Paltridge (assisted with the Charney Report) had well and truly turned by the early 2000s.
    And Lindzen has been pretty consistent. Warwick Hughes was on the case from day 1.

    Aug 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM | DaleC

  • ggm

    It`s very easy for Scotland to achieve 100% renewable. When they lower their standard of living to 2nd world levels, and are happy to have regular black outs, get rid of all heavy industry, and restrict the use of airconditioning – then they will easily achieve this.

    And that is the point of doing this. These are the true goals of the left.

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