October was 'bumper' month for Scotland's renewables

wind farm
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 MW wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon. Credit: Steve Wilson / Wikipedia.

Any way you look at it— the solar PV panels, the solar hot water panels, the wind turbines—Scotland turned out to have a bumper month for renewables in October. Wind turbines generated an estimated 982,842MWh of electricity, enough to power 3,045,000 homes in the UK, equivalent to 126 percent of electricity needs of every home in Scotland. Sunshine? For those homes fitted with solar PV panels, there was enough sun to meet an estimated 46 percent of electricity needs of an average home, for example, in Edinburgh. For those with solar hot water panels, there was enough sunshine for an estimated 41 percent of hot water needs of an average home in Edinburgh. WWF Scotland's director Lang Banks said:"While nuclear power plants were being forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland's wind and sunshine were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country." Banks called it a "bumper month" for Scotland's renewables.

For households in the UK, a solar PV system tends to be mounted onto the structure of a building, often but not exclusively, a roof. Individual PV cells usually comprise layers of doped crystalline silicon, sandwiched beneath glass to create a photodiode. These cells are assembled into panels, linked together to form larger arrays. A solar thermal system uses solar absorber panels, also usually installed on the roof, to absorb the sun's radiant heat to heat hot water. The panels have a network of pipes inside them containing water and antifreeze. The liquid is heated by the sun and pumped from the panel to a heat exchanger coiled inside the hot-water cylinder of the property. The mixture of water and antifreeze never comes into contact with the water in the tank. For UK residential properties, solar hot water systems are designed to work in conjunction with another water heating system, such as gas, oil or biomass boiler.

The World Wildlife Fund (now simply called the WWF), published the figures earlier this week. The data came from WeatherEnergy, which is part of the European EnergizAIR project. The project has partners in ten European countries. The WeatherEnergy website is updated daily, providing information on how much the average UK household photovoltaic and solar thermal system could have provided the average household the previous week. It also indicates how many homes could have been powered by the capacity of the UK's existing .

A report in The Guardian earlier this year said that Scotland has 10 percent of the UK population but a third of its renewable energy.

As for wind power, Scotland is the windiest country in Europe. Scotland's Whitelee Windfarm is the UK's largest onshore windfarm, 20 minutes from central Glasgow, with 215 turbines that generate up to 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 298,837 homes per year based on the expected average capacity factor of 27 percent and an average annual domestic electricity usage of 4,266kWh.


Explore further

Solar energy prospects are bright for Scotland, experts say

More information: scotland.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do … world/index.cfm?7365

© 2014 Tech Xplore

Citation: October was 'bumper' month for Scotland's renewables (2014, November 7) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://techxplore.com/news/2014-11-october-bumper-month-scotland-renewables.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
665 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 07, 2014
Good.

Now increase that 5 times over to fill -all- the energy demand and not just household electricity.

And do it all the time, not just one month in a year.

and an average annual domestic electricity usage of 4,266kWh.


The typical household in the UK uses 18,000 to 22,000 kWh a year in energy including electricity, not including transportation fuels.

And households are but a fraction of the total energy demand. You still have to power all the industry.

Nov 07, 2014
For those of you who appreciate TED talks...

http://www.ted.co...newables

Nov 07, 2014
When the wind doesn't blow...

http://www.telegr...nap.html

Nov 08, 2014
@Eikka: Are you complaining that, in general, there are not enough renewable sources being added to the grid each year? If so: I agree.

Nov 08, 2014
@Eikka: Are you complaining that, in general, there are not enough renewable sources being added to the grid each year? If so: I agree.

Sounds more like he's complaining that renewables cant do in 10 years what it took fossil fuels and nuclear to do in over 100 years with 50 times the subsidies.
Bit unfair, that.

Nov 08, 2014
renewables cant do in 10 years what it took fossil fuels and nuclear to do in over 100 years with 50 times the subsidies.


You're still begging the question that the fossil fuels exist because of the subsidies, and not because they actually produce a whole lot of energy for the money.

Renewables don't.

Furthermore, what you count as "subsidies" is ill defined to the point of propaganda. If a government funds the building of a powerplant so that its subjects can have power, that's not the same thing as a government paying feed-in tariffs for the electricity from a powerplant that would otherwise make a loss, while collecting the money as surcharges from the taxpayers.

In one case, the government is acting as an investor, in the other, a wealth redistributor.

Bit unfair, that.


Pot calling the teacup black.


Nov 08, 2014
@Eikka: Are you complaining that, in general, there are not enough renewable sources being added to the grid each year? If so: I agree.


I am generally complaining about making a great big deal about a great big nothing.

Like the TED talk by David Mackay above points out, with the means that we have available we have to realize that countries like the UK have to cover on the order of 50% of their land surface with windmills and solar panels and biofuel plantations - or start a new era of imperialism to put those things on someone else's soil.

Then there's also the energy storage issue which virtually nobody is taking seriously, without which none of it would be even theoretically possible.

People simply don't appreciate the scale of the issue, so celebrating powering - theoretically - the whole of Scotland for a month is kinda like running a marathon and shouting "Look how easy this is!" after one mile.


Nov 08, 2014
50 times the subsidies.


Renewable energy in e.g. Germany recieves on the order of 20 billion euros a year in subsidies, with the least productive forms like solar PV getting the bulk of it, and the most productive forms like hydroelectric power getting the least.

With this money you could fund something like four new nuclear reactors every year, and at 1,000 MW each they would meet the amount of solar energy currently produced in Germany... well, literally as soon as they're built.

And that would be a one-time investment. The renewable subsidies go on year after year because the bulk of the renewable subsidies are not investment, but feed-in subsidies.

That is, instead of investing in cheap sources of energy that are economically self-sustaining, they're simply paying off the difference in price.

This is why it is not honest to compare subsidies for coventional power to subsidies for renewables. Coal, nuclear, oil, etc. don't get feed-in tariffs.

Nov 08, 2014
Scotty, we need more power
I'm Givin' Her All She's Got, Captain!

Nov 08, 2014
This must be a religion to Eikka. The resistance to clean fuels is getting irrational. Folk stealing our PV panels? ridiculous. Wind and PV overlap for the most part, and they will not be the only technologies we use. But every kWh produced by alternative technologies means one which is not producing pollution from burning the fuels of former centuries.

Nov 08, 2014
I will explain it to Ekikka one more time: In the late 1970's after eight years of Reagan, our California infrastructure was depleted. We needed power, but were restricted by clean air laws. Specifically, we had power inadequacies during Summer peak, when the air conditioners came on.

Instead of trying to site another fuel-user and polluter, which need copious amounts of water as well as fuel, we had the wind turbines put up at Altamont. When it gets hot, the San Joaquin Valley ventilates and the hot rising air pulls in air from the Bay Area, through Altamont pass, giving us free power exactly when we need it.

No fuel. No pollution. No wasted water. No transmission losses. No sweat.

I want to hear what Eikka would have done.,

Your turn, Eikka!

Nov 08, 2014
For anyone who watched the TED talk link I posted the math simply doesn't work for any combination of renewables...

If you want to talk about religion or irrationality then talk about environmentalism it has ALL the same markers.


Nov 08, 2014
Pacific Gas and Electric will have to tear down all the wind turbines: Mystic says they do not work well enough. He wants us to put up a coal plant instead.

Nov 08, 2014
Pacific Gas and Electric will have to tear down all the wind turbines: Mystic says they do not work well enough. He wants us to put up a coal plant instead.


You DO put words in people's mouths you don't agree with on a regular basis. I don't want a single coal plant built. In fact I'd like to see all our existing coal plants dismantled. The problem with advocates of wind power is that for every wind farm you build, in effect you're adding 70% of something else to cover the dispatchaibility. So, in effect, it's actually YOU who are advocating building more fossil fuel plants when you advocate building renewable plants that can't cover the grid....

Nov 08, 2014
When the wind does blow
https://www.youtu...flQfNUE8


So we just freeze to death when it doesn't? We just shut everything down and let millions die?

Nice plan.

Nov 08, 2014
How much utility experience do you have? You seem to not understand how grids and the integrated powerplants are designed.

Nov 08, 2014
Do our Deniers not understand the value of distributed and integrated diverse sources of power? Have not read my previous posts regarding our experience in California?


Nov 08, 2014
Let's go through some of this for the sake of those without direct utility experience: Grids are best supported by a mix of technologies which allow the dispatchers to make minute-by-minute decisions regarding to load control and dispatch based on ability to respond, reliability, cost, availability, and other factors. Some technologies are good continuous generators, such as geothermal. Look up the geothermal resources in the US.

Others, such as wind and PV are less continuous, but sufficiently reliable and predictable to design systems using them. When needs are projected, all factors are considered for generation. Alternative energy haters seem to think there are no accountants or financial managers in utilities, nor engineers to understand how that resource will suit their needs.

I do not understand the griping. Tell us why you are smarter than the economists and accountants in utilities.

Nov 08, 2014
Since you said "deniers" I can only assume you're talking to someone other than me. I'll let them respond.

Nov 08, 2014
Dispatchability doesn't have anything to do with a "mix of technologies" some are more dispatchable that others. It basically means that you can, on demand, regulate your power up or even down as needed.

Currently there is NO good solution for wind, or solar power with respect to this problem. At present wind and solar are good niche technologies, but you simply can't run a national grid off of them. It's not that I'm anti-renewable, I'm simply pro arithmetic. The only reason the grid can even tolerate such horrifically intermittent power generation is BECAUSE we do have a very dispatchable base load of generation....otherwise you'd be seeing constant brownouts and blackouts.

Nov 08, 2014
You seem to go simpletonian. No one technology or source should dominate a power system to the exclusion of others when we know the costs and benefits of all of them. Direct and indirect.

If you think using wind and PV and other alternatives will have us freeze to death, as you allege, you have revealed all we need to know of your grasp of the topic, I think.

Sorry, but those simplistic allegations are, once again, strawmen, interesting only to those who do not understand the entire picture.

What would you have done at Altamont? I want to hear it.

Nov 08, 2014
I think the worst thing you can say about Eikka is that he's persistent and consistent both, which are not really faults. He's not irrational. What he's saying makes perfect sense from a LCOE and LACE viewpoint. The same goes for ModernMystic, I suspect.

They're both polite, and bring important real-world issues to the discussion.

For an introduction to the kinds of issues that Eikka raises, read through this document slowly and patiently: http://www.eia.go...tion.cfm

I guarantee you'll learn something, or your money back :-)

Nov 08, 2014
Do they think those arguments are foreign to utilities? Have they any idea how conservative most utilities are?? Really? That is the point I am trying to make.

Why would these folk in other fields think hey are more astute than professionals in the field?

And once again, what would they have done instead of Altamont wind turbines?

Nov 08, 2014
Some of that might be valid if utilities actually made power by demand instead of what they really do, which is make it by trend.

Nov 08, 2014
The most expensive and dirty power is used during peak periods. These are the inefficient and dirty plants we like to keep offline, . . third-tier spares.

Solar PV generates the power at the peak, exactly when we need it, keeping our most expensive power and the dirtiest power offline.

And somebody tell Joe every Watt-second is generated as it is used. Not to any program. It has to be balanced at every instance, or voltage, frequency and reactance get out of whack. Have him try it sometime with AC.

The eia source you referenced does not include societal costs, health costs of coal combustion. A good course in Environmental Economics should make every conservative an environmentalist, or manufacturer of remedial devices and technologies.

Why do some folk want us not to use power free of fuel and pollution??

Nov 08, 2014
Does Joe not understand that electrical grid power must be generated exactly when it is used? If all loads and all generators are not balanced, the frequency, the voltage, and reactance get out of control, and the system comes down. Tell Joe to try generating his own AC sometime.

Nov 08, 2014
The most expensive and dirty power is coal, and it is not used during peak periods, because it takes a long time to shut down and a long time to start up. Coal units are generally base-load plants, which run all the time with steady output.

Peaker plants, at least in the United States, tend to be natural gas powered.

I agree that the document I quoted does not include the externalized costs that you mention, and I have seen high energy costs make Conservatives actually conserve, but the clean power network that we can build in the future comes from the dirty old power network that we have now, and the concerns of the dirty old thing must be addressed, embraced and subsumed.

It's funny. The people in California that object to Smart Meter installation are often the ones that want solar power, when the Smart Meter is going to be vital for Distributed Energy Source integration into the grid. Most normal people are allergic to details and physics (present company excluded :-))

Nov 08, 2014
Not the same people for the most part. It is that the survivalist sect overlaps both, suspicion of government, and the desire to be independent.

Nov 09, 2014
Scotty, we need more power
I'm Givin' Her All She's Got, Captain!

lol see this is why you can't set people to ignore

Nov 09, 2014
I want to hear how utilities make their power by trend instead of by demand again.

What happened to Joe Blue?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more