A week ago the rain was pelting down. Take a look at the passengers on this bus in the middle of Edinburgh on Princes Street. See they are wearing hoodies, waterproofs, and everything you need for a summer in Edinburgh. 😉
The news reported that a couple of weeks ago Scotland generated all its domestic electricity needs from wind on one particular day. A gale-force wind sped those wind turbines into the record books.
I don’t know what the distribution of environmentally power sources is in Scotland. Perhaps hydro-electricity makes a contribution. I should find out. (Blogger exits stage left to look up the facts…)
Energy In Scotland – The Facts
It turns out that the facts are not hard to come by, and here they are.
Renewable electricity generation in Scotland made up approximately 26% of total UK renewable generation in 2015
Renewables are the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland—higher than both nuclear generation (33%) and fossil fuel generation (28%).
The Scottish Government has a target for renewable energy in Scotland to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption and 11 per cent of heat consumption by 2020.
[ Where will the other 89 per cent come from? ]
Wave and tidal energy is still in the testing stage but the Scottish Governement says there is a huge potential and they have the world’s only accredited marine energy laboratory.
Meanwhile, in 2014 wind generated 62% of Scotland’s needs and hydro generated 29%.
And, and this is an amazing fact, Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resources. Note, that is 25% of Europe’s resources, not just of the UK’s resources.
Then there’s North Sea oil and gas and Scotland is estimated to have the largest oil reserves in the European Union, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of total EU reserves.
Of course, there is a growing divestment movement that argues that oil and gas should not be extracted and should remain in the ground, and I support that.
Actually, more than that I think there is a huge amount that could be done right now by an outright ban on the use of oil to make plastics that have a short life cycle.
Tidal energy has been in the testing stages here for ages — still nothing.
Do you know why? One reason that occurs to me and could be completely wrong is that the Gulf of Bothnia and even the Baltic Sea are ‘somewhat’ protected, being surrounded by land. In comparison, the coasts of Scotland take a pounding from the Atlantic and even from the North Sea. So maybe there is just more wave action?
There’s no noticeable tide in the Baltic Sea, but here … in the Bay of Fundy, we have the highest tides in the world. I think they’re doing _some_ experiments in Nova Scotia (the other side from us), but so far nothing significant is happening.
Reading about Scotland and England is like reading about two countries almost at war. Scotland is intent on working with renewables, and England seems always to be cutting funding for renewables and pushing for fossil fuels and nuclear power.
Scotland has a low population compared to its area and it has the best topography and weather for wind, hydro, and wave power. England has a much higher population density and no one wants wind turbines messing up their view. So there is a lot of politics as well as lobbying.
Maybe there is merit in nuclear power but I have a couple of worries about it. One is the hidden costs of dismantling and removing and store the spent fuel. The other is the consequence of a mistake. I recall the first time I was traveling through France by car and saw that a major power station was just sixty miles from Paris. It made me shudder. Wind turbines, wave turbines and hydro dams seem so benign by comparison.
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There are two nuclear power plants almost next to Saint John. I remember Chernobyl very well, as I lived in Sweden then, and everyone was up in arms about measuring everything.
I recall that reindeer meat was not allowed for human consumption in Finland because of Chernobyl.
My opinion on nuclear power hardened after the Japanese Dai Ichi meltdown.
I wrote about it once. Basically, the tsunami cut the electricity but it also cut power to the backup generators. That was never envisaged.
The result was that the fuel rods melted.
That was never envisaged.
Even that would not have been catastrophic, but the designers built the reactor with the holes for the fuel rods at the bottom of the vessel because it was easier to get to.
The result was that when the fuel rods melted the contents of the reactor poured out.
And my conclusion is that nature outthinks designers and it is dangerous to be complacent and think otherwise.
Yes, there was a lot of hoopla about the moose-/reindeer meat. Someone took a piece of moose meat from previous year, out of the freezer and had it measured. It was higher!
Nature will always outthink the human mind. We should never think that something is too far-fetched to happen.
IMHO you write well – it made me smile when you said “Blogger exits stage left to look up the facts…” And the facts were interesting to read too !!