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Scotland’s Wind Myth

July 22, 2019
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By Paul Homewood

 

 

h/t Joe Public

 

This story has been doing the rounds lately:

 

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Seeing countless renewable energy records broken and milestones passed has been a constant source of encouraging news for our planet. Now, we have yet another impressive stat to celebrate: in the first half of 2019, Scotland generated enough energy from wind power to supply its homes twice over.

Specifically, turbines generated 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity between January and June, enough to supply power to 4.47 million homes – not bad for a country that has around 2.6 million homes to its name.

It’s a record high for wind energy in Scotland, and it means the turbines could have provided enough electricity for every dwelling in Scotland, plus much of northern England as well, for the first six months of the year.

https://www.sciencealert.com/scotland-s-wind-turbines-are-now-generating-double-what-its-residents-need

The implication is that if Scotland can do it, everyone can.

But, as we shall see, it is not as simple as that!

For a start, it needs to be pointed out that, while there may have been enough to power all Scottish homes, the figures ignore non-domestic use. During 2017, the latest figures available, wind, wave and solar generated 17.4 TWh, but total Scottish consumption was 24.6 TWh.

To ignore non-domestic use is a common trick employed by the wind lobby.

 

There is of course nothing clever about building enough wind farms to power all Scottish homes in aggregate terms, particularly in a large country with a small population as Scotland is, if you are prepared to throw enough money at it. And in Scotland’s case, that is an awful lot.

Last year, subsidies for wind power in Scotland cost consumers £954 million. Fortunately for the Scots, this subsidy is absorbed by the National Grid and charged out to all UK customers. If Scottish householders had to pay for it themselves, it would cost every household there £367 a year.

And that does not include all of the other additional costs for integrating wind power, such as constructing transmission lines.

Yet even with all of this heavily subsidised capacity, wind power cannot supply Scotland’s needs all of the time, because sometimes the wind does not blow.

Despite having enough nuclear and CCGT capacity to supply at least half of their demand, Scotland is still having to import electricity from England and N Ireland:

 

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https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/electricity-section-5-energy-trends

 

Without access to that supply, Scotland would have suffered blackouts.

 

And what happens when there is too much wind power?

Again, Scotland relies on England to take it away. If there was no access to the English grid, that surplus would have had to be thrown away.

Put simply, large amounts of intermittent wind and solar power cannot be integrated into a closed grid system. It only works for Scotland, because it can rely on the National Grid to manage shortfalls and surpluses.

22 Comments
  1. John Kennedy permalink
    July 22, 2019 3:26 pm

    Here is my reality check for the Windy Mill enthusiasts, at the moment, 3.15p.m. as I post this, GB is importing 2% of its electricity needs from Belgium, 3% from the Netherlands and 1% from Ireland, while at the same time exporting 3% of its electricity production to France and 1% to Northern Ireland, which in turn is exporting 20% of its electricity to the Republic of Ireland, which in turn is exporting to GB, its like some kind of musical chairs I suppose. https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=country&solar=false&remote=true&wind=false&countryCode=GB

    • Malcolm Skipper permalink
      July 22, 2019 6:00 pm

      JOHN: “Some kind of musical chairs.” Yep, so much electricity is being generated – or coming from connectors – that they can feed it back to the turbines so they’re “generating wind energy.” Impressive fans during a (potentially) record-breaking heat-wave. At least the Highlands are air-conditioned without fossil fuels. “SCIENCE ALERT” seems not to be alert to science. 🙂

  2. swan101 permalink
    July 22, 2019 3:26 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  3. Pancho Plail permalink
    July 22, 2019 3:32 pm

    I wonder how much power Scottish industry consumes, and how much is left over for homeowners? I for one am fed up with these fatuous comparisons.

  4. Gamecock permalink
    July 22, 2019 5:14 pm

    ‘encouraging news for our planet’

    I checked with the planet. It tells me it doesn’t care.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 22, 2019 8:05 pm

    Also they usually ignore the biggest household energy usage – heating, may not apply in summer, but in winter their electricity ‘allowance’ per house will only be about 1/6 of actual energy use per house, so another deception.

    • Duker permalink
      July 24, 2019 5:43 am

      Yes. Thats the trick. Like much of the UK Scotland mostly uses natural gas for domestic heating, cooking and hot water. Electricity is ‘only’ for lighting and appliances..
      The Scottish government says that natural gas usage in winter is 3x that of electricity.

      It gets even more interesting in looking at Total Energy Usage, the renewables they talk about are from 15-18% .

      • Duker permalink
        July 24, 2019 5:55 am

        The other part I forgot is just looking at ‘consumption’ means they can pretend ‘generation own use’ can be ignored, mostly line losses.
        Generation own use in Scotland comes to around 3000GWh

        The trick words are ‘homes’ and ‘consumption’ as though those things can be separated out from generation and comercial, industrial, public sector and export uses.

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 22, 2019 8:34 pm

    Access to the English grid has been a problem with frequent outages on the Western Link that runs from Hunterstone to Deeside. In turn, that has led to no apparent diminution of curtailment since it was installed.

  7. tom0mason permalink
    July 22, 2019 9:25 pm

    Great news and congratulations Scotland!
    So as from tomorrow say, OK next week, you’ll disconnect from the rest of the England and then negotiate a contract whereby you’ll reliably supply England as and when the England requires it. 🙂
    If however, on those rare days when you’ll require England to supply electricity to you, then it must come at a premium rate because the rest of Britain only has enough for itself and additional generation is required to satisfy you as well.

  8. July 22, 2019 11:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  9. Athelstan. permalink
    July 23, 2019 7:30 am

    much wind in Scotland, whodathunked it?

  10. July 23, 2019 12:13 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  11. Rudolph Hucker permalink
    July 23, 2019 2:43 pm

    Apparently Herr. Goebbels lives on!

  12. Paul H permalink
    July 23, 2019 5:17 pm

    Not allowing me to post Paul, have I been naughty/

  13. Paul H permalink
    July 23, 2019 5:20 pm

    A puzzlement to me were the wind turbines on the then trip home on the Péage toward Bordeaux from St Malo or (Caen) Oustreharn. 337 miles from Caen, past Nantes, should anyone wish to check it out. These turbines loom large from the middle distance and curiosity gained the better of me and so I took the slip road off the motorway at a point I knew would lead me close to them. Again, if you are travelling that away and have sufficient interest, the sign you are looking for is ‘Aire du Lozay’, which is a picnic area, a cross between a lay- by and a motorway service station. There’s a loo and room to walk the dog, also a Roman excavation which is free and may be of interest as it was to me. There was a gap in the hedge that enclosed the area, probably a locals’ short cut to somewhere so it was easy to observe the turbines close up. Here’s the thing. It was a warm summers day, eleven-ish and not even a breeze, the air was completely still, I even plucked some dried grass and let it fall, which it did, directly onto my feet. But, the turbines were merrily turning away. They were pretty tall, guessing 70 yards but even so, is it the case at that kind of height there
    is a reasonable amount of wind to drive them without a hint of a breeze being felt adjacent to them at ground level, or are they being driven to con the thousands of passing car drivers??

    • yonason permalink
      July 23, 2019 10:56 pm

      I thought that when there’s no wind they have to feed in power to turn them, otherwise the transmission could be damaged.

      …wait, let’s see what I can come up with…

      Couldn’t find a ref for that, but this is even better, IMO.
      http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html

      • Paul H permalink
        July 24, 2019 1:45 pm

        Brilliant find yonason, well done, the plot thickens even more. Surely our leaders with the government resources at their disposal must beware of these scenarios, whuich just leaves corruption with likes of John Selwyn Gumboil profiting at a rapacious level.

  14. yonason permalink
    July 23, 2019 10:43 pm

    ”To ignore non-domestic use is a common trick employed by the wind lobby.”

    …not to mention certain internet trolls.

    • Duker permalink
      July 24, 2019 5:57 am

      Talking about ‘consumption means they can ignore ‘generation losses’ as well. The houses may have lights on but the street lights wont be , nor the offices and factories

  15. Charles Wardrop permalink
    July 24, 2019 6:52 pm

    Lies, damned lies and “renewables” statistics, are in that order of deceit, as promoted by snake oil salesmen and subsidy seekers.
    Unfortunately they and we have guĺlible and/or corrupt politicians in charge.

  16. David permalink
    July 28, 2019 4:37 pm

    I’ve always been suspicious of the one near J20 of the M25 – It seems to turn fast even in dead calm!

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