Gransnet forums

Science/nature/environment

Scotland producing enough renewables to meet 90% of Scottish electricity demand

(27 Posts)
Elegran Fri 18-Dec-20 20:37:55

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-51088089

M0nica Fri 18-Dec-20 21:30:43

But was it delivering it when it was needed? With wind delivering 70% of their energy, how do they manage on days when wind is producing only 5% or less of its full capacity?

I am pretty sure that they will be buying in fossil fuel generated power when there is little or no wind and what useful purpose they have found for the excess wind on windy days?

I am much more interested in how much of their actual consumption they can meet on a day to day basis from renewables, and how many days they are dependent on other forms of power generation. Solar energy is high in summer, low in winter and there is none at night.

Do not misunderstand me I am not a climate or renewables sceptic in any way, but many of the statistics quoted are grossly misleading and pretend a self sufficiency that does not actually exist.

Elegran Fri 18-Dec-20 22:24:30

Pumped storage at many hydro schemes and battery storage (for instance at the Shetland Tidal array) help cope with peak demand and utilise power when too much energy is created to be used at once. I don't know the figures for how much can be stored and for how long.(Any extra wind power is great for drying the washing grin )

www.powermag.com/uk-banks-on-energy-storage/
www.scottishconstructionnow.com/article/scotland-s-largest-hydro-project-approved-by-ministers
www.novainnovation.com/energystorage.

SueDonim Fri 18-Dec-20 22:27:09

There was a period earlier this year, Monica when it was so still and so gloomy that no renewables were produced at all in Scotland. I’m all for renewables but there needs to be a safety net, too.

Elegran Fri 18-Dec-20 22:37:10

The tides must have still been running?

paddyanne Sat 19-Dec-20 00:17:12

We have surplus energy that we send south ...its added to the "national grid" and we pay for it to be added unlike other suppliers who are paid .
We have been producing energy from renewable sources for along time ,Hydro has been a big producer for decades ,since the 1950's I think.I know the Loch Sloy Hydro scheme has been around since the 60's .I've been in it a few times on open doors days .
Water is something we wont run out of .Loch Ness has more fresh water than all fresh water sources in England added together .Thats just one of the reasons WM wants to keep us tethered to them,England is said to be facing severe water shortages within the next 15-20 years and are planning to pipe ours down.Hopefully we'll be paid for that !!
Seems some who live here cant see the possibilities that WM does !

WOODMOUSE49 Sat 19-Dec-20 00:22:40

SueDonim

There was a period earlier this year, Monica when it was so still and so gloomy that no renewables were produced at all in Scotland. I’m all for renewables but there needs to be a safety net, too.

Scotland now provides 85% of Great Britain's hydro-electric resource, with a total generation capacity of 1,500 MW.

2 kW of hydropower could satisfy the annual electrical energy needs of two average UK homes.

We are off grid and our batteries will hold the power produced by our wind generator and PV panels for probably a year if we never used any. They do discharge slightly but we're always using the power so they're constantly being charged. DH would love to have hydro power as well (he's a hydro electric engineer).

Jane10 Sat 19-Dec-20 07:34:32

I'm concerned about all the electric cars that will have to be on the road over the next decades. They will require more energy than is currently produced. Will just this sporadic wind power be enough?

David0205 Sat 19-Dec-20 08:05:48

Wind power is far from sporadic, it does fluctuate and alternatives need to be available, we currently do that with Gas and Coal. Using coal to supplement renewable has its advantages, it is cheap, easy to store and the 5% of power that would be needed to balance renewable would not be a great environmental concern. Batteries are beginning to be used for grid backup and fit in well with Solar for short term power balancing.

Hydro in the UK is close to maximum, there are few new sites that can be used. Tidal power will increase, although environmental concerns will limit its use. Hydrogen, much vaunted as the energy holy grail, it is expensive to produce, transport and to store, the current thinking is to feed it into the gas grid when it becomes economic. Using surplus electricity to charge batteries is far more efficient than producing hydrogen, there needs to be a quantum leap in hydrogen technology before it is a realistic alternative.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 19-Dec-20 08:13:57

Electricity can be stored - apparently.

No idea how though

Big batteries?

Whitewavemark2 Sat 19-Dec-20 08:15:06

Oh just read your post david 😳

Elegran Sat 19-Dec-20 10:08:48

WW2 Yes, big batteries and hydro storage - when there is surplus energy, the water is pumped cheaply from lochs and up behind dams, where it is allowed through the turbines at peak times to generate more electricity than it took to pump it up there.

I don't know how it makes more than it takes - but the expert engineers do. That is why they have studied the subject for years.

Elegran Sat 19-Dec-20 10:14:10

BTW, Suedonim could you point me to where you got that info about "no renewables at all" for a while? The wind drops at times, but I don't see how you can stop all the water in all the hydro schemes from running, Even King Canute couldn't manage that.

SueDonim Sat 19-Dec-20 10:36:32

Mea culpa Elegran! I can’t recall where I read it, it was quite a way back in the year but I think now it must have been referring only to wind and solar power. It stuck in my mind because we regularly go past a farm that has three private small wind turbines that are generally whizzing round madly, even when it seems calm. That day we were encased in gloom from fog, so no sun, and nothing was moving and then I read about there being no renewable power that day.

I wish you could generate power directly from rain. We’d be self-sufficient right now if that was the case!

David0205 Sat 19-Dec-20 10:54:08

Hydro is a small part of the power grid and is almost all in Scotland, if they want to Scotland could be close to 100% renewable quickly. Norway is already nearly there and electric cars are very common, so it’s a good model to follow.

Elegran Sat 19-Dec-20 10:58:08

I suppose you could direct the rain down an enormous funnel into a turbine - somehow I don't see it being efficient enough to charge up your electric car.

David0205 Sat 19-Dec-20 11:05:44

“ where it is allowed through the turbines at peak times to generate more electricity than it took to pump it up there”

No, you can’t defy the laws of physics.
The value of off peak power is typicaly 5p per KW, the value of peak rate power can be 30p per KW plus so in cash terms it is very good.
Octopus Agile is a tariff that prices power each half hour during the day, it is much cheaper if you can avoid peak times

M0nica Sat 19-Dec-20 15:48:19

I am well aware of the extent and use of windpower, but wind power, if not sporadic, is hghly variable. A site I look atalmost daily is Gridwatch, which shows where our power is being derived, almost minute by minute.

What irritates me is the way you get headings like the one in the OP that states Scotland producing enough renewables to meet 90% of Scottish electricity demand, which suggests that 90% of the time all but 10% of Scottish power is coming from wind. It isn't, the situation,, is far more complex.

Baggs Sat 19-Dec-20 15:49:43

Just so, monica.

Brahumbug Sat 30-Jan-21 21:38:55

The UK is on interconnnectors to Europe, sharing power. If there is a surplus in one area it can be directed to an area where the wind power has dropped. Hydro electric can run low if there are drought conditions and pumped storage schemes can only run for relatively short periods, such as electric mountain in Wales. Wind power is definitely one of the field of the future.

"where it is allowed through the turbines at peak times to generate more electricity than it took to pump it up there." That is utter nonsense.

paddyanne Sat 30-Jan-21 23:28:02

producing 90% of power from RENEWABLES......no one said wind .In fact quite far up the thread I mentioned Hydro electric.However its produced ,its still renewables and we still produce enough to power Scotland 90% of thetime with enough left over to sell .Why so dismissive ? Aren't you pleased that one part of this disUnited kingdom is moving forward with green energy and green initiatives/2019 saw us planting 22MILLION trees ,building eco houses as part of social housing and much more.The Scotgov initiatives are very well documented and applauded world wide .Thats one of the reasons the conference was planned for Glasgow,thats the conference Bojo wants Ms Sturgeon banned from and Alister Jack to take her place.And you wonder why we want Independence !!Credit please where its due!

M0nica Sat 30-Jan-21 23:36:16

paddyanne I always count Scotland out because within a few years it will be an independent country.

Callistemon Sat 30-Jan-21 23:40:17

Elegran

The tides must have still been running?

DH cannot understand why that is not one of our principal sources of energy in this country.
A constant source which is not weather-dependent.

M0nica Sun 31-Jan-21 17:17:17

1) We were in Wales in 2019 and visited one of the pumped storage systems. The staff there were quite clear that it take more power to pump the water up that produces power on the way down, they do it because it enables them to have a source of power that is instant in its availability and can be turned on whenever extra power is needed in a hurry.

2) Tidal power requires an area which has a high tidal range. The best place for it in the UK is the Bristol Channel.

A project to put a barrage across part of the river Severn, , was seen off by the RSPB and other environmentalists, who put short term wildlife issues, well before thinking of extinctions that will be the result of global warning.

A consortium of investors put forward a plan for a series of tidal lagoons along the South Wales coast. The firsts of which is at Swansea Bay [[www.tidallagoonpower.com/projects/swansea-bay/ ]] which would have been able to provide electricity 24/7 for over 150,000 homes for 120, yes, 120 years. Unfortunately the proposal was rejected by the government.

The French installed their first tidal power station in 1964, General de Gaulle opened it. It is across the river Rance, in northern Brittany near St Malo. I have been there. It has now been running for nearly 60 years. turbines have been replaced at various times, but the power keeps being generated.

Why the British government is so slow in supporting them I cannot imagine.

3) Tidal/wave power. This is like fusion, it is always 10 years ahead. This article, written six years ago is very informative, but it an article that could have been written anytime in the last 30 years because lots of people dicker with schemes, but no one has yet been ablt to deliver the goods.//e360.yale.edu/features/why_wave_power_has_lagged_far_behind_as_energy_source

NellG Sun 31-Jan-21 18:09:17

I love statistics - elsewhere you can find that 28% of Scotland's power is produced from Nuclear Energy. But there is a big difference between energy requirements and energy production.

Some perspective on demand might be important. Articles like the above always talk in terms of domestic demand, as in how many houses etc. The biggest demands on energy will always be from industry and business. Meeting those demands is always the challenge. Renewables just can't compete in the wider arena.

I read a while ago that in order to meet the full current demand for electricity in the UK the entire island would have to be surrounded by an offshore wind farm 14 miles deep.

When looking at other countries, including Scotland, population, population concentration plus industry/business has to be taken into account when looking at energy requirements and distribution. It's just not as simple as installing a wind farm and virtue signalling it. Besides, the carbon footprint of manufacturing the turbine is just about offset by it's capacity for generation.

Either way, we just want to boil a kettle and watch TV without guilt... Never going to happen - as a species we are not equipped for balance, we just consume.