Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Beauly-Denny green light...

BBC Radio Scotland ran a phone in this morning over the long awaited Beauly Denny power line upgrade decision which was made today. Of course opponents jammed the lines, the debate often transgressing to the well worn (and discredited) rants against onshore windfarms and renewable energy policy in general.
I didn't get this is what I wanted to say to if I had:

Myth 1: Wind doesn't work when we most need it, ie now!
Answer: From the actual output data of operating windfarms I am involved with, they certainly have been generating lots of electricity during the recent cold spell! This myth is often rolled out by objectors at times of crisis, but nobody in our industry is advocating wind as the sole source of our energy needs; the balancing capacity is already there and will continue to be there.

Myth 2: We need's most reliable.
Answer: Since when was uranium mined in Scotland? The UK? At risk of opening this can'o'worms, let's just say the Scotland givernment is currently saying no to future nukes; it's not on the agenda north of the border. And why should it be when we are blessed with our own natural resources to generate more power than we need?

Myth 3: Let's build big hydro again to meet our renewable needs!
Answer: Good idea, but fraught with environmental difficulties. Let's not forget that onshore wind capacity built in the last decade now produces more eletricity than hydro capacity built in the last century...but we do need both.

The decision is a good one for the renewables industry and shows real political action over rhetoric. As far as the undergrounding question goes, the Scottish Government in its statement on the decision makes it clear that it has no legal powers to enforce undergrounding - so why the apparent confusion?

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