Welcome to the Highlands

Welcome to the Highlands, the land of  sparkling Burns, The Heather hughed Glens, High Mountains where the Eagles soar, a land of Deer and Salmon, Kilts and Pipes. The Corbetts, the Grahams and the Monros. A place to revitalise the Spirit and the Soul. This is a land of proud people, people that will give any man the time of day.

But today a certain sadness pervades all. In a desperate drive for fame our politicians have sold Scotland and its wild places to the lowest bidder. The march of the wind factories is heard in the Glens. Tourism for Scotland is dead. Our way of life crushed beneath the greed of mostly foreign adventurers and aided by our Government and Planners.

This is the opportunity for all you to have your say and perhaps we will save something for our children.

The first great requisite of motive power is; that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire.The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

William Stanley Jevons (1865)

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

— John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

— John Muir

Posted in Tourism, Uncategorized | 36 Comments

An Engineer speaks!

line of turbines

A brief consideration of renewable energy production and storage.

As anybody who looks at current wind output figures will know, we are presently blessed with less than 0.2 Gigglewatts of wind power from the total UK wind fleet, the rated capacity of which is close to 8 Gigawatts. For the last 10 days, output has been under 1 Gigglewatt and this means that the actual wind power is probably negative because each machine requires around 200 kilowatts of power just for its life support systems.

It is often claimed that wind and solar will be valuable if only they can have effective storage systems. This set me thinking and I append below a summary of my current thoughts. I would be very pleased to have any comments that can make this case stronger.

——–
Japan has decided to triple the amount of wind-generated power that it will install in future. Traditionally, Japan has relied mainly on nuclear and gas power for its electricity supplies but, post Fukushima, it is shutting down almost all of its nuclear facilities. Whilst one may criticise the construction of nuclear power stations in a country that is famous for its earthquakes and tsunamis, the fact is that, unlike UK, that small country has very little natural energy reserves and was thus forced into their construction. However, even with this increase, the wind power generation will be under 0.3% of total power requirements.

With such a low penetration it is not to be expected that Japan will encounter the problems in other countries, such as UK and Europe, where high penetrations from wind and solar are causing very significant problems for distribution and in increasing costs.

The recent report by the Adam Smith Institute – “The limits of Wind Power”, shows that any amount of wind penetration beyond 20% is prohibitively expensive and that the ‘sweet spot’ is between 10% and 15%. Beyond that point, the cost of having to have standby facilities on line and ready to carry full load becomes very high.

The problem with wind power and many other renewables is that they are inherently unstable and largely unpredictable and are thus quite unsuitable for any form of base load energy supply. Wind, in particular, is very variable and can change from high output to almost zero output and back again on a very short time scale, often on a basis of minutes. If we are to avoid the very serious consequences of such variability then we must have either a constantly available back up from conventional power sources, or some form of energy storage that would provide a constant and smooth output from the original wind power generation.

In order to overcome the inherent generation instability of wind and some other renewables (such as solar) it is necessary to have the capacity to store energy on large scale for protracted supply times. This, so far, has proved to be either very difficult or very expensive.

There are many possible methods of energy storage, all of which require a change of state from, say, wind to electrical to another form of energy and then a return to electrical energy. Each change of state involves an unavoidable loss of efficiency in that it is impossible to get out all the energy that was originally developed. This is a basic fact of physics that we cannot overcome. All that we can do is to try to minimise losses, often at considerable expense for meagre gains.

In one sense, we all rely totally on energy storage. All our food is actually solar energy that is converted into chemical states in plants, which are then converted again by chemical changes into the energy that keeps us alive. Fossil fuels, biomass and wood are simply ancient solar energy that has been stored as coal and oil and from which the energy is again released chemically into other forms of energy.

However, the immediate problem is to find ways in which we can store electrical energy from renewables in such a way that it can later be released in a controlled manner that is convenient to us. Thereby hangs the problem, for which there are currently few solutions that are operable economically on the large scale that we need.

There are many types of energy storage available to us, of which the main ones are as follows: –

a. Pumped hydro.
b. Pumped air.
c. Chemical conversion.
d. Mechanical.
e. Thermal.

Pumped Hydro is in practical use in many countries. It involves the use of cheap electrical power during off peak times to pump water from a low to a high level. The water can then be released as required to meet sudden peak demands and can respond very quickly. The higher you can raise the water, the less water you will need for a given power output. Therefore, countries such as Norway, which are very mountainous, can install such a system fairly easily. In UK, we have limited ability to do this and have used most of the readily available sites already. Low lying countries have very little opportunity to do so because the system would require huge land areas to accommodate all the water.

The biggest pumped hydro installation in UK is Dinorwig, in Wales. However, the total installed pumped capacity is equal, to only 1.2 GigaWatt hours of electricity and can deliver approximately 500 Megawatts for 13 to 15 hours until it is exhausted. The total installed capacity of pumped hydro in UK would produce at this level for not more than 22 hours. This means that it is just not capable of covering the capacity shortfall when our UK wind fleet can be producing almost zero power for several days at a time.

We can also look at this system from the point of view of energy losses. Let us ignore any inefficiency from production of power from wind factories and just assume that our electricity is from conventional sources.

When we pump up water for energy storage we have electrical losses to drive the pumps, then there are pumping losses and to this we must add the pipeline energy losses. The end result is that the stored energy loss costs us about 20% to 25% of the input electricity.

When we release the water to generate power we have pipeline losses, water turbine losses and further electrical losses. These may easily be as much as 20% to 25% in total and possibly more at peak powers due to pipeline losses.

Overall, therefore, we would be fortunate to get back as much as 60% of the input power, and would probably not see more than 50%. This is OK as long as we use very cheap, off peak electrical power, but if it is to be supplied by wind turbines we would not have cheap power because of the various incentives that are applied to wind power generation.

One can conclude, therefore, that the use of pumped hydro is only useful in very specific instances for peak power coverage and that it is not suitable for the longer term smoothing that is needed for wind power. Furthermore, any significant extension of pumped hydro installations can only be done at the expense of damming and flooding high level mountain valleys. This may be a problem because people tend to live in valleys rather than mountaintops and there are few available unoccupied mountainous valleys.

Pumped air. This is a very common method of power storage and is widely used for driving pneumatic tools. It simply involves the use of a motor to drive a compressor that supplies compressed air to a reservoir. The compressed air can then be released to drive a suitable machine that may be used to drive a generator to produce electricity.

It is all known technology for which most of the sums have been done and experience gained. The problem is that it has many efficiency losses and is currently used only on small-scale applications where the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. There are very few larger scale systems in operation and these are only experimental at present. In order to operate in the huge scale needed to support renewable energy variability, we need to go very big indeed.

The basic problem of compressing the air is relatively easily solved and could well involve such means as serial axial flow compressors such as are used for pumping on gas pipelines. However, we need to have very big facilities to store the compressed air and to deal with the heat exchange problems when compressing the air and when expending it for power generation. Of these, the storage is the most demanding.

One solution that has been proposed is the use of what are basically very big inflatable balloons that would be moored offshore in very deep water. The compressed air would be supplied to them and then sent back as power is required. There are many problems here, not least of which is the idea of having very large numbers of these devices moored in deep water, together with connecting pipe work and subjected to tidal flows etc. Condensation would be a problem also. For the GigaWatt scales that are needed, this just does not seem to be a sensible solution.

In order to obtain the huge volumes that are needed for air storage we need to think of underground storage in old mine workings, disused salt mines, oil wells etc. This requires that there are sufficient huge underground storage facilities that are easily accessible and reasonably close to the point of use of the power.

Even if we can find suitable storage, we still have the problems of inefficiency in the process. Compressing air is far less efficient than increasing water pressure and the same applies to its expansion to produce power. Even if we ignore possible losses of air due to leakage, it is very doubtful if we could expect more than a 40% overall efficiency.

Chemical conversion. As has been previously said, we rely on chemical conversion for almost all of our energy. However, in this context, we are looking at using renewably generated electricity to cause a chemical change of state to store energy so that it can later be released.

First off are storage batteries, as used in cars, for example. There is a whole range of batteries now available, including some exotics such as LI-on types. All of them rely on a chemical change caused by the incoming electricity so that a reversal of the change will produce electricity. The amount of storage capacity is a function of its construction and size and construction influences the discharge rate and hence the output capacity. Batteries use all sorts of special and possibly toxic materials and many of these materials cause great environmental problems during extraction. Battery malfunctions are not unknown (such as those currently affecting the LI-on batteries in the Boeing Dreamliner aircraft) and can cause serious fire and chemical risks. There is also the problem of limited life, as we all know from our cars.

There is, as yet, no battery system that can cope with long-term charge and discharge rates that are needed for the huge electrical loads that are required for back up to renewable generation. In any case, there are still the inefficiencies involved in taking a high voltage supply from the grid, reducing it to a lower DC voltage for the batteries and then reversing the process to give a mains output. Whilst this is common on small scales, it has yet to be shown to be viable on very large scales.

Another scheme that is being considered is to use surplus electricity to produce hydrogen by electrolysis. Quite easy, actually, and was a common experiment in my school days. Take water and a pair of electrical contacts in the water and, hey Presto, you get hydrogen and oxygen emitted. Collect the hydrogen and you have a good clean fuel ready to be stored for future use, either in cars or as a fuel for generators to resupply electricity. If the hydrogen is combined with CO2 we can get synthetic methane, another good fuel gas.

The big problems are of storage and efficiency. To be useful, hydrogen storage must be very large capacity, sufficient to run a generator for several days during lack of wind and/or solar power. That is a very big ask when we are dealing in Gigawatts and it has not been achieved so far. As for efficiency, we have to face the age-old problem that, whenever you do something, there is an energy loss. Each stage of producing hydrogen, compressing it, storing it and then releasing it for combustion will involve an energy loss so the end output will be considerably less than the energy input. The system would only be economical if the original input electricity is very cheap and even then, the output power will only be as clean as the source of the energy input.

There are several other possible chemical energy storage systems, but they all suffer from the same problem of storage capacity and process losses.

Mechanical storage. This simply means using various mechanisms to store energy for later release. It is actually quite common and in every day use.

For example, we can use a spring to store energy, as in a clock. Or we can use a weight, as in pendulum clocks. Very easy to use and understand, but quite incapable of storing large amounts of energy.

Another method could be to use a flywheel, which can absorb energy for later release. However, it is very unlikely that we can see any form of flywheel that can absorb the energy needed for compensation of power outages over days. Anybody who has seen an old internal combustion or steam engine running will have noted the huge flywheels that they need to keep a constant speed during power fluctuations for each stroke. These machines, big as they are physically, run only at kilowatt power levels. It us easy to see that a flywheel system to operate at GigaWatt levels for hours or days would have to be absolutely enormous. It is simply not feasible.

Thermal storage. This is a system that uses heat from a power source or direct from solar energy to heat a material so that the heat can be stored. The heat is then used to heat water to provide steam, which will then drive turbines to produce electricity.

The most famous of these systems is the Gemsolar Array in Andalucia, in Spain. This has an enormous array of steerable mirrors that focus solar energy on to a tower. The tower contains molten salts, which are heated and circulated to insulated storage vessels. The hot salts are used, via a heat exchanger, to produce steam, which then drives turbines that produce electrical power. The system has been operational and can produce up to 19.9 megawatts of electrical power. Because there is a large storage capacity of thermal salts, the system can continue operation even during the night, thus overcoming the most difficult problem of using solar energy.

It is theoretically possible to use wind-powered electricity to heat a salt in a similar manner and is not a huge technical problem (think of immersion heaters in hot water cylinders and kettles). However, the actual problems are very big indeed. The Gemsolar array can carry sufficient heat capacity to provide about 18 hours of electrical power before it literally runs out of steam. For any gigawatts scale system the heat storage would have to be enormous and would almost certainly involve substantial underground storage facilities.

Even if such storage were available, we would still have the ever-present losses to accommodate. Just consider this sequence of using a wind turbine to power a system using thermal storage.

Turbine > electricity > electrical converter > heat exchanger > thermal storage > pipelines > heat exchanger > steam generator > steam turbine > electrical generator > electrical grid.

Each (>) represents a stage at which energy will be lost through inefficiencies. If we assume no other losses and that each stage operates at something like 90% to 95% efficiency, which is high, it is easy to see that overall losses will be around 50% at best. This is hardly the basis for an efficient energy storage system and it could only be viable if the initial energy were to be very cheap, which is not the case with wind turbines in the present economic environment.

CONCLUSIONS.

From the above it can be seen that there is currently no viable energy storage system that can allow us to use variable renewable energy sources to simulate base load electricity systems with controllable, economic, deliverable power over long periods of time. The only possible exception is pumped power storage, as at Dinorwig, but this is limited in availability and would require huge extensions of land usage in order for it to be useful. It also requires that the initial supply of energy should be at a low, economic cost.

Absent any new developments of efficient and cheap energy storage, it seems to be impossible for us to have renewable and variable power sources as part of our energy grid at levels beyond, at maximum, 20% penetration. The idea, therefore, of having any country with 100% of its energy supplied from renewable sources, is not tenable.

by John Curtis

An interesting addendum on stable salt reactors.

ssr

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Cetacean stranding

Sperm whales beached at Skegness - Jan 2016

In a week where 29 whales have been stranded on Europe’s beaches we note little comment from Marine Agencies, the Governments or Offshore Wind. Certainly in these pages previously we have expressed concern from the desert like tracts below the Kent Offshore wind farm to the impact of piling and emf effect of all the undersea transmission cables. What has been identified is the large number of jelly fish, whole shoals in fact, that have been drawn to offshore wind farms. Some years ago I remember meeting with Marine Scotland and asking what research had been done. The answer at the time was none, reliance having been placed on marine biology consultation by developers and promoted by Renewables UK. Reality had however dawned and a survey had been commissioned at the time. Problem is that research of that nature takes many years and the reports so far produced raise more questions than they provide answers. Certainly promises of reef like conditions below turbines and fishing vessels meandering through wind farm has proved pure rhetoric with no fact. I have yet to see any post installation reports by developers but then did anyone really expect them. No doubt the Guardian and the BBC will blame the strandings on Climate Change. However only an open minded approach including the effect of sonar, emf and vibration will provide a balanced answer to the debate. Whales do strand and there have been massed beachings before where no wind farm were in existence. However the impact of offshore wind on mammals and all sea life must be understood.  As must be the effect on the sea bed, on underwater currents and on scour. So far little independent research has been published.

There is however an interesting report from Oregon that is worth consideration: http://oregonwave.org/news/impact-of-offshore-wind-farm-construction-on-marine-animals/

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Wind turbines and marine mammals

Something that has concerned us for a long time. At a meeting with a Marine Scotland consultation it was admitted that no research had been done although some was being commissioned at the time. Cart and horses come to mind. Up until then total reliance had been given to marine reports by the wind industry. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Certainly no post construction analysis had been done as the ‘story’ was better than the actual facts.

World Council for Nature


17 sperm whales stranded on beaches in a vast offshore windfarm zone



Authorized translation by WCFN of an article in French published here:
Éoliennes et mammifères marins

Sperm whales beached at Skegness - Jan 2016
These sperm whales, and three others, beached on the English shores of the Northern Sea; 12 others stranded in Germany and the Netherlands.


Sperm whale beached near wind farms of Lynn, Inner Dowsing and Lincs
On one of the whales stranded in England, anti-nuclear activists wrote a slogan to white-wash the wind turbines seen in the background.

Map of sperm whale beachings in the north Sea - Jan 2016
These whales were apparently members of the same pod, moving as shown above.

“Strandings are common in the North Sea but there hasn’t been one on this scale ‘in decades’, according to experts”.
The article, the map and more pictures are in the Daily Mail

Map offshore windfarms northern Europe
The 17 sperm whales died in areas of the North Sea that are saturated by sound and infrasound pollution emitted by ships and wind turbines. See the above map showing offshore wind farms…

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Wind Turbines are supposed to save CO2

deicing wind turbines

The energy required for a helicopter to de-ice all the blades on a wind farm must outweigh any supposed saving in CO² by a factor of 100 or more. Notwithstanding that no wind farm has saved a gram of CO² due to construction and the necessary spinning reserve.

HUMAN STUPIDITY KNOWS NO LIMITS

The entire rational for wind turbines is to stop global warming by reducing the amount of Co2 being returned to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels.

In the attached picture, recently taken in Sweden, freezing cold weather has caused the rotor blades of a wind turbine to ice up bringing the blades to a complete stop.

To fix the “problem” a helicopter is employed (burning aviation fuel) to spray hot water (which is heated in the frigid temperatures using a truck equipped with a 260 kW oil burner) on the blades of the turbine to de-ice them.

The aviation fuel, the diesel for the truck, and the oil burned to heat the water, could produce more electricity (at the right time to meet demand) than the unfrozen wind turbine could ever produce.

The attached picture is a metaphor of the complete insanity of the climate change debate.

In decades to come this one photo alone with sum up an era of stupidity, when rational thought, logic and commonsense was abandoned and immense wealth and resources needlessly sacrificed.

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Britain Going It Alone In Committing Suicide

The madness of the EU and it’s climate madness

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

About Peter, Biography | Peter Lilley

Peter Lilley, MP

On Sunday, Booker alluded to something that Peter Lilley had said:

Yet another bizarre consequence of this has followed December’s Paris “deal” on climate change. When the EU signed up collectively to reduce its “carbon emissions”, it took Peter Lilley MP to notice that Germany and France are now insisting that, since Britain is already committed to making such a disproportionately generous contribution to the EU’s collective target, this will reduce the amount others will need to cut.

Lilley has filled some of the detail in his speech on Monday at the House of Commons’ debate on the Energy Bill:

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Tom nan Clach

STOP PRESS: TOM NAN CLACH UNANIMOUSLY REFUSED.

Thanks to Wind Energy’s Absurd!

Another don’t count chickens post; this time for Infinergy who had applied to ‘re-power’ at Tom Nan Clach in The Highlands, although actually it was nothing of the sort.

Their original application for 17 turbines was originally turned down by The Highland Council on the basis of it being an inappropriate site; this decision was overturned by the Scottish Government.

Infingergy then came back with their ‘re-powering’ application – for 13 turbines but at a height of 125m instead of the original 110m.

Today the South Area Planning Committee discussed the proposal. Planners had recommended acceptance.

Hats off to SPAC for this one. We’ve given them some stick in the past, but they came up trumps and unanimously rejected it.

Effectively, they were led in this by the SNP’s Bill Lobban who made the point that if you have permission for a bungalow it doesn’t mean to say that you can stick up a four-storey building.
He said the original decision to refuse was the right one and that it was one of the worst wind farms he’d ever seen.

The height and blade sweep were material considerations. The visual impact on, in particular, Lochindorb, Drynachan and the Dava Moor, and taken with the Moy wind farm would impact.

Even Thomas Prag stated that it was not just the height of the turbines which would impact; because the parts moved the extra sweep area would be more obvious to the eye.

Well done, SPAC. There will be a windfarm, however inappropriate, at this site, but it has put a spoke not only in Infinergy’s wheel that they can just play fast and loose, but in that of every other developer who thinks they can just apply for a wind farm with turbines of a certain height and then hurtle in with goal post alterations

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environmental hypocrisy uncovered … fossil fools

Another truism

pindanpost

Fossil fuel’s are less damaging to the environment than renewables. What the Green movement doesn’t tell us, is where their electricity and batteries originate. It doesn’t fit the pocket-lining agenda.

Batteries use Lithium, lead, zinc and other materials. Here is a lithium mine, not unlike an open cut coal mine:

Lead and zinc mines are hazardous, as these minerals are a health hazard. Zinc is the 4th most used metal. Here is an Australian example:

Australia’s largest zinc mine west of Cairns starts closing down …

www.cairnspost.com.au650 × 366Search by image

The pit at Century Mine is nearing the end of its life. It produces zinc, lead and silver. The mine is owned and operated by MMG.

Then we have the rare earth metals required in turbine manufacture, which is disastrous to the environment:

Wind turbine’s disastrous environmental costs.

This is a calamity:

Wind’s ecological trail of destruction extends back…

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A plainly ridiculous situation

windfarm payments

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The new climate ‘deniers’

An Open perspective!

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

New members of the climate ‘deniers’ club:  James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, Tom Wigley . . . and Bill Gates.

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The Destruction of Scottish Power

Quixotes Last Stand

(From ENERGY MATTERS)

Euan Mearns — January 6, 2016

Summary

The Scottish Government has set a target for renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020.
This target is set without reference to economic and environmental costs and sound engineering practice. Industry and academia have set out to try and deliver the goal, rarely stopping to ask if this strategy is wise or beneficial? Government funds are not available to challenge government policy.
The intended consequence of this policy has been the closure of Cockenzie coal fired power station with Longannet to follow this year with a total loss of 3.6 GW dispatchable capacity. Can Scotland keep the lights on?

The analysis presented here suggests that the Scottish electricity system, underpinned by nuclear and hydro, will most likely survive the closure of Longannet and supports the government position: “there…

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I rarely comment on Climate but this says it all!

Paint your band wagon JPEG AW

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Hadyard Hill – The Truth and Windfarm Lies

The truth is that wind farms adversely affect residents quality of life and the guidelines of not less than 2km are ignored by the Industry and by the Scottish Government who drew up the guidelines. If thee or me ignored edicts of the Scottish Ministers we would be brought before the Fiscal but the wind industry is seemingly above the law. Scottish Government spokespersons routinely say that wind farms will not be built in unsuitable locations and yet we see evidence of their duplicity every day!

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How many other subsidies have the Renewables Industry been creaming off?

fallago rig

Is this the sunset of the Renewables Industry. Subsidies, carbon tax relief and now rate relief. The troughers have been squeezing every penny from the ordinary people it would seem. Now even the Scottish Government are turning the screw and predictably the troughers, and their political friends, are squealing. We have to ask how many more hidden subsidies or ‘support packages’ are we as yet unaware of? In essence either the industry is a mature developed technology or not fit for purpose. Not only are they creaming off funds but also their intermittency and preferential treatment degrades the efficacy of 24/7/365 forms of energy such as gas. Any conventional power station has to run near to capacity to be financially viable. The inability to do that, a circumstance created by intermittent renewable, has resulted in an unwillingness to build more CCGT (gas)power stations without similar subsidy to wind due to the financial constraints. We have an energy situation where we have the lunatics running the asylum. Amber Rudd is turning the ship round but like the massive oil tanker it resembles, it isn’t going to happen in a second. In Scotland the pilot isn’t even yet on the Bridge, but from this statement he may be boarding the pilot boat. However in SNP Scotland it’s probably a rowing boat and Nichola Sturgeon has got the oars!

The next step should be the ridiculously low costs of Planning applications in Scotland. This damages local Councils, already struggling to balance the books, who have to fund appeals and pay for representation at PLIs. The fee in the UK is up to £250,000 whilst the most in Scotland would be £22,000, a fraction of the cost of challenging an application. Also should a Council lose an appeal a wind developer can, and does, ask for costs whereas if the developer loses a Council is unable to recoup any costs. 

From The Herald

An initiative which sees green energy businesses claw back millions of pounds in taxpayers’ cash is to be scrapped.

The Renewable Energy Generation Relief Scheme (regrs) currently offers qualifying companies rates rebates of up to 100per cent.

It cost 7.3million last year, more than double the 3.5 million paid out in 2011 at the end of the scheme’s first twelve months.
Firms can currently apply for every building used for the generation of heat or power from biomass, biofuels, fuel cells, photovoltaics, water, wind, solar power or geothermal sources.

Businesses can be reimbursed for between 2.5 per cent and 100 per cent of rates they have paid, dependent on the value of the properties.

However, the Scottish Government, which runs the scheme, intends to limit the subsidy to “schemes in community ownership” from April next year.

A finance document circulated within local government, which has been seen by The Herald, provides details of the provisional total revenue and capital funding allocations for 2016-17.

It states: “The Scottish Government proposes to reform renewable energy relief from 1 April 2016. Relief is proposed to be limited to schemes incorporating community ownership. Further detail of the revised relief will be confirmed shortly.”

When the UK Government decided to end a subsidy scheme for onshore wind farms earlier in the year, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing met representatives from 130 businesses and communities affected by the scrapping of the Renewables Obligation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other ministers have spoken out against plans to end the subsidy payments a year ahead of schedule, while industry body Scottish Renewables said £3billion of investment in Scotland could be at risk.
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who was alerted to the curtailing of renewable energy relief by his constituents in his Eastwood constituency in East Renfrewshire, said: “The renewables industry in Scotland is already reeling from the decision of the UK Government to remove support.
“They thought the SNP Government in Edinburgh would help fight their corner and now they get this sneaky punch in the ribs.

“The constituents of mine who are affected are small indigenous Scottish businesses, exactly the sort of companies we should be supporting.”

Alan Baker, managing director of Greenock-based 2020 Renewables, a medium sized developer, said he had been shocked by the announcement.

“For a typical project of six or seven turbines, we’re taking a hit of £60,000 per annum. Over the 25-year life of the windfarm it’s about £1m. If you roll that out across the portfolio we’re probably taking a £40m hit over 25 years.”

Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “It is disappointing that the Scottish Government has chosen to remove part of its support for Scotland’s renewables industry at a time when UK Government actions have adversely affected the economics of the sector,” she said.”

Meanwhile, green energy projects have become the largest generator of electricity in Scotland for the first time.

The country produced 49,929 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in 2014, with 18,962 GWh from renewable power sources or almost half (49.7 per cent) of the electricity demand.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said renewable energy production rose by 11.9 per cent from 2013, with a total of 38 per cent of the electricity generated in Scotland coming from this sector. It compared to 33 per cent from nuclear and 28 per cent from coal, gas and oil combined.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said they showed the sector was “stronger than ever.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “In 2010 we took action to protect the renewable energy sector, a fledgling sector, which saw significant rates bill increases at the 2010 revaluation.

“Now that the sector has reached financial maturity, and given the challenging fiscal environment imposed by the UK Government, we are taking steps to target the relief to delivering a benefit to schemes incorporating community ownership.

“The precise detail is still to be finalised, and we welcome further engagement with Scottish Renewables and others in this respect.

“We will also review the position for renewables at the next rates revaluation in 2017, and as part of the Draft Budget have also committed to reviewing the wider business rates system.”

And of course, true to form, it’s all Westminster’s fault.

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Paris, Success or Sham

No sooner were world leaders congratulating themselves last weekend on having reached their “historic agreement” to save the planet by scrapping all those “dirty” fossil fuels than two groups – normally bitterly opposed to each other – were united in deriding the meaningless absurdity of what had happened.

The ultra-greens, led by the “father of the global warming scare” James Hansen, immediately hailed the agreement, which committed no one to anything, as no more than a “fake” and a “fraud”. Clued-up “climate sceptics” equally recognised that this much-vaunted “non-treaty” was indeed – precisely as I predicted here on November 1 – “the flop of the year”.

It really is time for us all to grasp just what a charade all that wishful thinking in Paris turned out to be. Lost in their self-deluding group-think, the 40,000 delegates may have been happy to cheer the idea that we must abolish fossil fuels. But not one pointed out that the world currently depends on fossil fuels to provide nearly 87 per cent of all the energy it uses. Those useless “renewables” they want us all to use instead – based on the wind and the sun – supply less than 2 per cent.

But equally buried from sight in Paris was the openly declared intention of China, India and pretty well every “emerging economy” in the world to build thousands more coal-fired power stations, causing their “carbon emissions” to double or even treble. Global emissions in the next 15 years are set to soar, without any effect on the climate.

“Britain is the only country in the world legally committed, by the Climate Change Act, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 35 years…”
 

All of which leaves the countries of the West, which momentarily fooled the media into thinking that anything at all had been achieved by that PR stunt in Paris, in a ludicrously isolated position. And none more so than Britain, now the only country in the world legally committed, by the Climate Change Act, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 35 years.

According to current government policy, this will mean putting an almost complete end to the use of the coal, gas and petroleum products on which our survival as an industrial nation depends. In light of that vacuous non-event in Paris, when will our politicians at last face facts and begin reversing our suicidal energy policy before it is too late?

 
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When, not if, will the Blackouts commence?

Didcot

This is a typical ‘Dirty’ image of Didcot Power station, now closed. The photo is taken to make the ‘smoke’ black. In fact most of what you see is only white water vapour. The Generators from Didcot were removed and returned to Seimens in Germany for rebuild to be fitted in one of the new German coal fired power station. Most of those use dirty lignite and one of the largest miners of that is Vattenfals.

By David Watson

CAN the UK help meet the Paris Agreement objectives?

Electricity security in our country is currently in a parlous state, fast approaching the edge and the “Houston we have a problem” moment is here.
Ofgem and the National Grid Company predict no more than 1.2 per cent to two per cent margin of capacity over demand and only eight per cent if our interlinks to France and Netherlands are importing at maximum capacity this winter. The French are not guaranteeing this level of availability.

In the United States spare capacity is required by law to be 15 per cent daily.

In November, the World Energy Council (WEC) which is UN accredited to assess countries’ Energy Trilemma comprising environmental sustainability, energy equity and energy security, has reduced the UK electricity supply rating from AAA to AAB as a first step, commenting: “The UK faces significant challenges in securing energy supply”. WEC, having reduced our energy security score to one-third of its assessed level in 2013 expects it to fall further and concludes by advising that “tightening capacity has put UK on its ‘watch list'”.

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The International Energy Agency in its November report advises that “incidents that led the National Grid Company to using the ‘last resort’ of paying energy users to cut their demand would happen increasingly unless investments in the infrastructure increased”

The 2001 EC Large Combustion Plant Directive was already determining closure of around three-fifths of the UK coal-fired electricity output by 2025 – much in use to back up wind, before Westminster Energy Secretary Amber Rudd last month declared that the Government would “close coal by 2025 and restrict its use by 2023 if we can shift to new gas by then”.

Her speech also confirmed the UK has a “higher percentage of our energy from coal in 2014 than in 1999”, effectively confirming that wind technology is not working, and reaffirmed closure of onshore wind subsidies.

Concurrent with closing coal all but one of our eight nuclear stations are scheduled for retirement by 2023 and it is almost impossible that any new nuclear can be brought on stream before then. This closure combination means we need to replace more than 40 per cent of our present UK power generation before 2023.
Gas power plants, with half of the carbon pollution of coal, can just about be built within this time frame whereas any renewables more practical than wind will not have matured enough for any nationally significant level of deployment.

The National Grid Company (NGC) in its Future of Energy System Operability Framework published lat month expresses great concern regarding the progressive loss of crucial UK “system inertia” and reactive power capability which follows with the closure of large generating stations, limiting its ability to keep the frequency and voltage stable as wind output varies and collapses.

Neither remaining wind, nor solar, nor planned future high voltage DC links with England, will provide adequate reactive “wattless” power (called MegaVARs) essential for prevention of network voltage collapse.

National Grid confirms it is also facing new severe “challenges” from the rapid increase in Embedded Generation. This is another unanticipated “whoops, wrong result” that followed the UK Government’s 2011 Capacity Mechanism initiative to provide wind backup. Mostly units are diesel, which is second only to coal in carbon pollution and their generation into the low voltage parts of the network is already giving National Grid serious “challenges” around stability, voltage recovery and demand prediction; plus increasing “challenges in seeing and locating problems… particularly frequency variations”. NGC identifies an urgent need for “more comprehensive system modelling”.

The UK Institution of Engineering and Technolog,y the UK home of chartered electrical engineers, in October identified strong concerns as to the “significant modelling challenge” to deal “with the threats posed by developments emerging in the GB power system”.

Among many recommendations, they urge appointing a “system architect” for the UK electrical supply to quickly instigate “risk-focused modelling” to “target the management of risks”.

The Herald recently exclusively carried, an assessment by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders (which has long advocated a full system analysis and a legally empowered electricity system planning body) that without the retention of at least two of the four generators at Longannet, Scotland could need 36 hours to “blackstart” its grid following a major collapse. Some in the profession talk of four or five days depending upon cause

It’s sobering that, unlike the banking crisis, born of similar light regulation, in our profession we cannot print electricity.

David Watson is a retired chartered electrical engineer with 35 years’ experience in international energy engineering projects.

Posted in Wind farms | 1 Comment

Old Sparky

Old Sparky

Well we find someone who writes for the press that actually understands the Energy Industry. Well done Private Eye!

Posted in Wind farms | 2 Comments

Allt Carach bites the dust

ABO-WESAYNO ANNOUNCEMENT

Dear Supporter

We are absolutely delighted to tell you that tomorrow ABO Wind will announce their withdrawal from the Allt Carrach wind farm site!

Their press release claims that the site is not windy enough. They also claim that they enjoyed local support, that the site was not of conservation or landscape significance and not designated Wild Land. All lies, as the hundreds of you that live here know only too well.

This is your victory. Ever since 350 concerned residents crammed into the Magnus House at Aigas Field Centre we knew this wind farm could be beaten. Since then your letters got the Wild Land area along Strathfarrar extended over the proposed wind farm site. Your objections stalled their met mast application. Your donations paid for our campaign and your emails, letters and those of you who stopped us in the street have kept us motivated and focused. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

This is a victory for community over corporate greed. People in Strathglass have spend three years in fear of this development. Some have been unable to sell their houses. Others have been afraid to move into the area. Long standing family business, and new and innovative tourist developments have questioned whether to continue to invest in the area. This is a victory for them too.

We’ll give a more details response to ABO-Wind’s press release very soon. But in the mean time – Happy Christmas everybody. And thank you all once again.

The ABO-WESAYNO Team

Lyndsey Ward's photo.
Posted in Wind farms | 2 Comments

THE VIRUS IS SPREADING

Not only in the UK and Eire are people waking up to the virus of wind development. More and more we hear the problems of Northern Europe where the cancer originally took hold. Now we see it progressing southward.

arnac la psote

From Harry Amey

I am posting this here as it seems the most appropriate place. My family have become victims of industrial wind. Not directly, as only four of the 300 industrial turbines planned in a 30km radius of our house have been built and these four are ten km away. Of those 300 industrial wind turbines, around fifty are planned within a ten km radius of our small commune of ‘Arnac la Poste’ in the North Haute Vienne region of France. The closest five will be between 2 and 3 km from our home. They are coming to the end of the planning stage in our commune and, if all goes ahead, I expect them to be constructed and operating, at the latest, by the end of 2017. In my opinion it will be a disaster for this beautiful region of France. A huge mistake is being made. A small minority will gain financially but the majority will suffer as a result. Some will pay with their health.
I have actively campaigned against industrial wind for a year now; set up the ‘No to Wind Turbines in the North Haute Vienne’ Facebook page; joined pressure groups; attended meetings; delivered flyers and put up posters, spent my own money and generally tried to let people know what is happening and how it may affect them in order that they can take an informed position on the subject and decide for themselves.

I could be doing better things with my time. I do not want or need this crap and stress in my life, but it has arrived on my doorstep and so I have had no alternative but to face it head on. I feel angry, bitter and anxious all the time. The subject dominates my time and this is without the buggers even being built yet. What will life be like when they are? I have a pretty good idea from sites such as this one – probably ‘Hell’. Our local community has already split in two and a once open and friendly village has become insular and suspicious of one another. It is the unfairness and the undemocratic nature of it all that gets my goat. Green energy my arse! It’s all about the money. It always has been and it always will be. We are just irritants and collateral damage to the corporate money making machines. They and the politicians simply do not care if we become ill or suffer financially.

During this time I have met and become friends with some wonderful people. Probably the most influential of these has been Michael Keane, in Ireland. I visited him there this month with my wife and the experience has had a profound effect on us both. To witness first-hand the disaster that fell about him and his wife Dorothy was as distressing as it was enlightening. We toured the area with him. Visited their beautiful dream house which they simply abandoned on medical advice, their struggle with illness; depression and other mental health issues all brought on as a result of two giant wind turbines built 700m from the property. Their continual campaigning; meetings with lawyers, politicians, attending TV and radio shows and willingness to reveal all their suffering to anyone that would listen in order to try and prevent them becoming victims too. I take my hat off to Michael and Dorothy Keane, I really do. I have no wish to walk in their shoes but I can see those shoes are already warming by the fire and I have no doubt that they will be a snug fit when (if) I slip them on.

Part of me wants to play the Ostrich and stick my head in the sand. Surely it won’t be that bad will it? Turbine roulette is what I call it. Will I or members of my family get sick? How much will I lose on the value of my house? Will I be even able to sell it? Will a change of Government in 2017 stop this madness? Who knows? It’s already sending me ‘mad’ though and then Michael’s sad but wise words then keep ringing in my ears “At the end of the day Harry, nobody really cares about ‘you’ apart from yourself” and sadly, as much as I don’t want to hear that, I know in my heart he is right and that I have to be proactive if I am to protect my family. So, we have decided to put our house on the market now, see if we can sell as soon as possible and move on. It may be too late already though. No doubt we are already blighted by the mere threat of industrial wind turbines. We may sell, but at a huge loss. We may not be even able to sell at all. Who knows what will happen, but at least I feel a bit more in control. At least my head is out of the sand now, even if there is still grit in my eyes.

I’ve decided not to play roulette. It’s a mugs game.

Posted in Wind farms | 3 Comments

Who needs money for electricity anyway

Thanks Brenda for your insight!

Brenda's rant

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Culachy Wind Farm Refused

Good news today that the Culachy Wind Farm was refused 5-2. Tom nan Clach  was referred to a site visit.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/779565/culachy-windfarm-rejected-vote-councillors/

General Wade's v Wind farm

It is beyond belief that Historic Scotland chose not to object to this wind farm. Or is it as they are controlled by the Scottish Ministers.

 

Posted in Wind farms | 2 Comments