SCOTTISH Renewables, the promotional body funded by companies which
generate renewable electricity recently issued a news release declaring
“97.4% of Scotland’s electricity consumption [was] met by renewables in
2020″. It wasn’t.
It was actually met throughout the year in very significant part by
electricity from our nuclear power stations – mostly Torness running
constantly, supported in part by Hunterston and Peterhead gas-powered station.
These stations provide essential synchronous generation support to grid
stability increasingly threatened by the increase in renewables generation.
The two nuclear stations will be retired this decade and Scotland has no
plans to replace them.
They are crucial in providing rotational inertia which acts as a system
shock absorber during grid disturbances to keep the frequency stable and
localised wattless, reactive power, essential to keeping voltage stable as
grid load characteristics vary through the day.
Without them and large imports from Europe and England, which contribution
Scottish Renewables seem to have wittingly overlooked in its erroneous
claim, during several long calm periods of the year when wind supplied no
output at all we would have been sitting in the dark .
Additionally the £1bn DC interconnector from the Hunterston area to Wales
in support of exports regularly fails and we the bill payers have to meet
millions of pounds annually in constraint payments to the wind farm owners
to shut down.
Scotland’s total renewables generation may, arithmetically, have equalled
this percentage of our total annual usage but we cannot use it to run our
grid at the claimed level due to the heightened stability risk and risk of
near-instant collapse for several days at a time. No matter how many more
wind turbines we build this will not change.
So we are left with an erroneous sound bite which will likely wrongly
influence people living in Scotland, including our politicians, to believe
we can stably produce all of our electrical power by wind alone with no
critical electrical support from additional synchronous sources.
DB Watson, Cumbernauld.