‘Scotland ‘Saudi of wind’ or ‘Gagging on Wind Power’


[red line is 6 GWh which was Scotland’s demand in 2015. Got the graph from: ‘Scotland Gagging on Wind Power’ by Euan Mearns at: http://euanmearns.com/scotland-gagging-on-wind-power/ in 2015]

This eye-catching headline in Energy Voice today caught my eye as it was meant to do but the full text was unavailable without paying £10.

So, it’s probably saying something like my recent account:

With massive new wind-farms being built and still to come online, Scotland’s existing wind-farms provide 48% of August’s demand and more than 100% on nine days

Developers EDPR have put in proposals for another massive offshore windfarm off the Moray coast to take advantage of the high and sustainable winds constantly available there. It will be able to power 750 000 homes. We already know of the Beatrice (Moray coast), offshore windfarm which will do 450 000 homes, the 45MWh Neart na Goithe off Fife which will do 325 000 homes (1 million people) and the 50MWh Kincardineshire floating offshore farm which will presumably do even more, say 500 000 homes. Add to that the Pentland Firth tidal energy plant which will power 700 000 homes and you have a total of around 2 725 000 homes.’

This is the massive energy source coming on line in the next few years yet already wind power is producing nearly half of our needs. Remember there are much windier months to come than August.

In August 2017, we saw a 30% increase on the previous year, 93% of the demand for homes and 48% of the total national demand for electricity. With the new offshore farms and tidal energy plants and their higher output and higher consistency of supply, the target of 100% renewable energy generation guaranteed every day is easily on track for 2030

And some of my earlier posts:

‘Huge’ windfarm for Lochaber and Lanarkshire factories

A monstrous offshore wind-farm is planned for the Moray coast, to power 750 000 homes and create 2 000 jobs. More evidence we need the Union to survive?

£530 million boost for Scottish economy from Beatrice offshore windfarm


Without even seeing the full text, the headline sends a message to Scots about their economic future and the confidence they should have in it, independent.



38 thoughts on “‘Scotland ‘Saudi of wind’ or ‘Gagging on Wind Power’

  1. johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 8:22 am

    Euan’s piece is still very well worth a read today as are the many comments he got below it.


  2. macgilleleabhar September 12, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Not much point in Hinkley Point anymore is there?
    Ok. I’ll get my coat.


  3. Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Hinkley; there never was. The cost of the decom is built into the contract KW price. So we pay EDF to decom the plant and if EDF does a RFC / Littlewoods Stores and sells their business to some offshore company who goes belly up?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 8:47 am

    We will just have to switch earlier to electric cars, trains and busses to use it all up?


  5. Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 8:53 am

    I forgot, Hinkley gets a pay in subsidy per Kw it sends into the National Grid. Scotland has the highest pay in per Kw and our generative capacity accounts for over 40% of the Nat Grids revenues. From 11-12 % of UK generation. Closer to London the pay in becomes a pay out.


  6. macgilleleabhar September 12, 2017 / 10:23 am

    On a serious note the surge in renewables is coming at a perfect time as the older oil fields stop production their infrastructure can be adapted to energy storage by converting surplus electricity to hydrogen. I believe I read on this site that Siemens have made comment on this.
    At the same time the off shore oil industry is a tremendous asset but I believe despite Tavish Scott’s ill informed article in the P&J recently that oil is too precious a commodity to waste as as a fuel.
    I do not expect internal combustion engines to disappear from our roads immediately as hybrid vehicles at the moment are quite efficient ,or at least the Toyota type I have studied. Toyota use a type of Atkinson cycle engine rather than the more common Otto cycle as the Atkinson cycle is more economical but produces less power. Toyota get round this by using the engine to drive a generator at a more constant speed which in turn drives electric motors and also charges the batteries. There is a regenerator system that also recharges the batteries on braking.
    My point in rambling on about this is that the engine fuel could just as easily be hydrogen or any other clean fuel produced from using surplus renewable electrical energy.
    The future is re-newable.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. W Brown September 12, 2017 / 10:45 am

    I support green energy but the above graph is not all good news. According to the graph our base electricity generation (those you can reasonably guarantee will be available 100% of the time) is now about 20 per cent of the total. If that really is the case then we badly need to encourage energy storage.

    Unlike Norway, we have nowhere near enough hydro capacity.

    Hydrogen production and storage during times of excess from green sources is one way, but we are nowhere near being able to do this on a suitable scale. I sure hope they’re keeping Longannet mothballed for future base load use.

    Yes I’m aware that we generally export electrical energy and that the UK government is only too pleased that we are producing lots of nice green stuff that they can claim, but in arguments about independence it will be ‘the lights would have gone out in Scotland’ on the odd occasion when it’s the other way round. I remember just such a headline in the Herald during the referendum campaign when this happened for just one day.


  8. johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 11:08 am

    Yes, we do need much more storage but won’t the offshore and subsea turbines soon guarantee supply?

    Liked by 1 person

    • W Brown September 12, 2017 / 11:37 am

      Yes, tides are predictable and off-shore winds more consistent, but still only some of the time. Also electricity generation is only a part of our energy needs. Most of us use far more energy from gas for heating and petrol/diesel for transport. We’ve a long way to go before it’s all ‘green’.

      Incidentally nuclear energy isn’t evil ( you’d have to believe in evil in the first place AND deny your sun god) but we don’t know how to handle it yet – Sellafield 65billion and counting, stuff stored that’s dangerous way past the second coming etc. But see when we do get it right – it’ll be, as the kids would say, way to go (man?).


  9. W Brown September 12, 2017 / 11:14 am

    I should have added that our friends in Orkney are, as usual, way ahead of the curve.


    Highlanders as well?

    Click to access 3b-Hydrogen%20refuelling%20and%20storage%20infrastructure.pdf

    And these people are already on the ball for hydrogen fuel stations.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 11:43 am

      Forgot about cars


    • johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 11:45 am

      Thanks for your contributions W. As you know I’m not a technologist just someone trying to compensate for the negativity of the MSM so I both welcome comments like yours and hope that another reader will have the knowledge to engage with you.knowledgeably


  10. Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 11:19 am

    Norwegian interconnector?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 11:27 am

    Not sure about energetics of H2. If it is generated from electrolysis of water, the will an energy cost. Storage too has a cost and then the burning to generate heat or more electricity also make for a further loss of the original energy. Not dismissing it, just haven’t seen an energy/economics case

    Liked by 1 person

    • W Brown September 12, 2017 / 11:54 am

      All energy has ‘costs’. Our earthly problem, at present, would appear to be that we have too much energy, a state of affairs that may well end up b*ggering the panda*.

      The problem from the ordinary punters point of view is that (like where money comes from) they’d be as well living in caves. It’s just something that enables them to stay warm, travel, twit, and face.

      *I used to believe in reincarnation when I was in my teens, but it was always to come back as another human. I’ve changed my mind – it would seem that cockroaches can survive anything – way to go (man?).


      • Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 12:07 pm

        I read the other day, unconfirmed, that the cockroach survivability is also a myth. The crocodiles were the ones who came through the dinosaur wipe out


      • W Brown September 12, 2017 / 1:03 pm

        See these cockroaches and their propaganda – I heard, unconfirmed, that they own the Daily Mail. Not sure about being a Croc – I’ll have to give it some thought, in a while.


      • Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 1:20 pm

        The bad news is, either way, many Britnat politicians will survive


      • johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 2:22 pm

        Cockroaches? Not a cool look though. No reincarnation for me not after the last time. Lived in Slough as a woman but luckily run down at the age of 30.


      • Bugger (the Panda) September 15, 2017 / 7:49 am

        The name “cockroach” comes from the Spanish word for cockroach, cucaracha, transformed by 1620s English folk etymology into “cock” and “roach”.[3]


  12. macgilleleabhar September 12, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Good valid comments on here. I think we are on a very steep learning curve here as regards renewable energy and that we have to look at as wide a picture as we can by increasing efficiency on energy consumption for instance by better insulation of buildings, choice of materials etc. as well as technological advances in prime movers.There is also geothermal and boimas to consider.

    On the point of energy storage the Cruachan Hydro electric scheme is an early example of pumped storage but was not followed up. At the present time the baseload as mentioned by W Brown above is taken care of by thermal power stations but the down side of this is that they are slow to start up and slow to close down whereas both hydro and wind can be started and stopped almost immediately which means that on days of oversupply the renewables are closed down and the thermal guys are left to trundle on.That is why I see offshore floating wind farms producing hydrogen gas for fuel storage at times of oversupply as an intermediate step on our journey to using the minimum amount of non renewable energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Correct, it’s early days in these technologies. Why not more hydro? As you say, built in storage? Too expensive to construct?


    • Bugger (the Panda) September 12, 2017 / 6:45 pm

      It is, effectively, permanent infrastructure, to be amortised over 20 years?


      • Bugger (the Panda) September 13, 2017 / 8:19 am

        We build it, we own it. Queensferry Crossing and of course I am assuming Scotland is independent with banks aplenty queueing up to buy our petro bonds


    • Alan September 14, 2017 / 7:43 pm

      Could be hydro infrastructure would be too expensive. If this is so it hasn’t always been the case. We only have about 50% of the hydro originally planned. The scheme when rolled out would produce electricity at one (old) penny, or less, per unit kwh we were told. Then the UK needed to become a nuclear power. The “nuclear reactors would produce electricity so cheap it might be not be cost effective to send bills out” we were told. This was when the plug was pulled on the further development of the hydro scheme. Suppose it would make sure there was demand for leccy in the future and get rid of cheap, clean competition.

      I was young but I do remember hearing “- – – – hardly worthwhile sending out bills”, in regards to nuclear produced electricity. What guff is spouted when the electorate need to be sold something. We need to take back control and make this country great. Aaargh, what am I saying? We need to rid ourselves of Westminster. That’s better.


      • Bugger (the Panda) September 15, 2017 / 8:01 am

        At School, one of my mathematics teachers was an ex Dounreay physicist/mathematician. After it was built he turned to teaching. By the way Dounreay was built at great speed without thought for decommissioning because its real purpose was the test bed for a full scale plant on the Wirral, not to produce energy but to produce fissionable material for nuclear bombs.

        Dounreay is not yet fully decommissioned, after 15 years or so, and is projected to be completed by 2036 (brownfield site) at a projected cost of £4.3 billions (other multiplication factors are available to choice)

        It was never built to be decommissioned.


  14. Ludo Thierry September 12, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    Hi John et al – Yea Gods – what a fantastic ‘thread’ developing from this article – some excellent insights into the sustainable energy future we (mankind) must (no alterrnative) deliver over the next few years. Scotland is clearly playing an important part in many of these varied developments. It is early days and lots of exploring of options still to be done.

    Not entirely off topic – as sustainable energy developments will certainly be using the improved infrastructure developments (so I don’t feel guilty introducing this further piece of Scottish infrastructure good news).

    I don’t know if people are aware of the major developments happening at Aberdeen Harbour? Today was a big milestone when the dredging phase was begun:

    Aberdeen Harbour expansion project sees dredging phase commence

    The construction programme supporting the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour into Nigg Bay has passed a significant milestone in the commencement of dredging operations.

    The construction project, which commenced in May this year with the development of a north breakwater access road, and the start of work on the north breakwater itself, has progressed well, and the commencement of dredging operations at this time is a major step forward for the project.

    The first dredging vessel to arrive is Van Oord’s, Costa Verde, which has commenced work in the bay. Built in 1998, the Spanish-registered vessel is a Trailer Suction Hopper Dredger. The vessel is almost 90 metres in length and has a hopper volume capacity of 2,400 cubic metres. The vessel is scheduled to remove approximately 200,000 cubic metres of material prior to the arrival of a backhoe dredger later in the construction schedule, which will address the denser seabed material.

    The dredging operation is designed to increase the water depth within the bay ahead of the construction of quays over the next three years, and the subsequent development of world-class deep-water berthage.

    The dredging phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in September 2018 and the construction is due to be completed in 2020.

    Big stuff happening – Happening by accident? – No.

    Happening because Scotland has an SNP Scottish Govt who are focussed on developing Scotland’s economy for ALL Scotland’s people? – Yes

    Here’s hoping the local voters see what is happening right in front of their eyes and vote accordingly at the next (and all subsequent) opportunities.

    Thanks, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnrobertson834 September 12, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      A golden thread and you’ve added to it as usual though you did have to dredge up some of the stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. broadbield September 12, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    Electric vehicles are in vogue at the moment but some commentators see problems as numbers increase – namely grid load. There are also issues with the batteries – e.g. mining of rare minerals. Personally, I’ve been in favour of the hydrogen economy for some time – I remember a chemistry teaching colleague telling me about in the late 70’s. Lets build more renewables and use the excess energy to convert water to hydrogen.

    Someone mentioned energy consumption. Homes are one of the biggest users (and wasters) of energy. We are lucky to live in a house that thanks to huge insulation, solar gain and pv’s (and FITs) costs nothing to run. Prof Murphy suggested a £50bn green investment in UK “to make the UK’s 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public sector buildings super energy efficient, dramatically reducing energy bills, fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions”. Of course it won’t happen because the UK Tories are idealogically opposed to spending and aren’t green anyway.

    An Independent Scotland could be different. The SNP are reasonably green and there is actually a Green Party with several MSP’s supporting independence. New buildings aren’t the problem – standards can be improved by upgrading Planning and Building regulations to something like PassivHaus. Existing stock is and this needs to be addressed. But there also has to be a big investment in training (upskilling) all involved in building from the brickie’s labourer to the architect and planning officer/building inspector. The devil (of improvement) really is in the detail and bodging just won’t do.


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