/ Hydro v wind turbines

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Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
There is currently much debate/outcry about the environmental intrusiveness of wind turbines. Was there any similar debate/outcry about the massive hydro building drive which drastically changed so many Scottish glens, or did their impact just not get inn the same way in those days? I my view the intrusiveness of wind farms pales into insignificance compared to the unsightliness and devastation of multiple hydro schemes right in the heart of the west highlands.
Ridge - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

I like lakes.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Ridge:

Even ones with huge bath tub like scars around the sides...?

Cheers

Gregor
Ridge - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
They're graceful, aesthetically pleasing and enhance the environment...
mikehike on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
And both Hydro and Wind Turbine work together hand in hand.

When there's a surplus of wind generated energy it can be effectively stored for future use by pumping used Hydro water back up to the reservoir.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)
> They're graceful, aesthetically pleasing and enhance the environment...

The turbines or the dams and reservoirs?

Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to mikehike:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> And both Hydro and Wind Turbine work together hand in hand.
>
> When there's a surplus of wind generated energy it can be effectively stored for future use by pumping used Hydro water back up to the reservoir.

Yes, but I was not thinking of energy efficiency and reliability, but environmental and visual impact.

In reply to Robert Durran:

Not sure about the dams but I recall there was a mighty ruckus about running the pylons down the Glens.

Chris
tony on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

I'm pretty sure that W H Murray, amongst others, campaigned against the development of hydro schemes.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Chris Craggs:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Not sure about the dams but I recall there was a mighty ruckus about running the pylons down the Glens.

As there has been recently for the Beauly to Denny ones for all the new wind farms - much worse than the turbines themselves in my opinion; I'd far rather have elegant giant turbines next to the A9.
Fultonius - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> There is currently much debate/outcry about the environmental intrusiveness of wind turbines. Was there any similar debate/outcry about the massive hydro building drive which drastically changed so many Scottish glens, or did their impact just not get inn the same way in those days? I my view the intrusiveness of wind farms pales into insignificance compared to the unsightliness and devastation of multiple hydro schemes right in the heart of the west highlands.

There was no internet back then...
tom_in_edinburgh - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to mikehike:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> And both Hydro and Wind Turbine work together hand in hand.
>
> When there's a surplus of wind generated energy it can be effectively stored for future use by pumping used Hydro water back up to the reservoir.

Not really. Pumped storage can smooth out the peak demand within one day so you can get by with less generating capacity more evenly loaded. It takes some pretty big lakes even to smooth out a few hours of high load. No way it can deal with 20% of total generating capacity producing almost nothing for a week, which could happen if we keep building out wind farms.

The other problem is that you lose a substantial fraction of the energy in the conversion from electrical to potential and back again. If you want to make wind reliable by backing it with massive amounts of pumped store hydro then you need to factor in the loses.

At the moment the only way to make wind reliable enough to be useful is to back it up with gas. To make the economics fair the cost to make wind power reliable needs to be included in its price because consumers buy reliable electricity.

My problem with wind versus hydro is that it is one thing to mess up the landscape for an energy source that actually works like hydro, quite another to mess it up for what is basically subsidy farming and political posturing.


Ridge - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Ridge)
> [...]
>
> The turbines or the dams and reservoirs?

Supporters of either will use the same argument ;-)

Aesthetics aside, it's ridiculous to put of loads of wind turbines without a way of storing that energy. Mythical hydrogen storage aside, the only way to do that currently is pumped hydro. If you want wind to be more than a "Look, aren't we green" statement, we'll need a lot more hydro in the mix.
IanMcC - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
Robert, there was some. Plans to dam Glen Nevis were resisted by W H Murray, and (I think) Bob Grieve. At the time the benefits of electrification to the communities where the power was being gathered tended to outweigh the environmental damage.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

that all sounds entirely reasonable

so, serious question, and not trying to points score: the germans are noted to be an intensely practical and efficient nation, and they generate much more of their electricity from wind than we do, how do they deal with this problem?

cheers
gregor
Shani - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> "we'll need a lot more hydro in the mix."

That point is lost on a lot of people; a robust energy strategy is one based on a diverse mix of sources offering redundancy.
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes. There were many objection but on different grounds initially when the Grampian scheme was built and later Sloy. Much of the earlier objections came from landowners though which is the opposite of the windfarm situation as landowners are often the ones putting windfarms forward. Often these were based on the effects on salmon rivers.

The objections then started to change to be based upon amenity and this became more prominent when the Pitlochry dam was built. Note many of the doom forecasts regarding the effects of the dam on tourism did not come trye.

Then the Nevis Gorge scheme was resisted by Tom Weir I think and that drew a line in the sand effectively.

NOSHEB was actually very innovative through its social clause that subsidised connection to the grid. Without it many places would have had no connection until the 80s.

Read "The Hydro" by Peter Payne.
malky_c - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> Read "The Hydro" by Peter Payne.

This would be great if only it didn't cost about 70! I almost bought a copy in Leakys a couple of years ago, but decided I felt a bit skint.
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to malky_c:

Correct. In a JR Hartley moment a few years ago I went into Leaky's and asked if they had a copy. Yes was the answer and it was mine for 50. A lot better value than some of the outdoor junk I have bought for a lot more!
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to malky_c:

PS if you want a loan of it let me know.
prog99 on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to malky_c:
Try your local library. Also the Dam Builders is a good book on the subject.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
> The objections then started to change to be based upon amenity and this became more prominent when the Pitlochry dam was built. Note many of the doom forecasts regarding the effects of the dam on tourism did not come true.

They do seem to keep the Pitlochry reservoir topped up to avoid the unsightly shore line. I think the same is true of the Affric one.

> Then the Nevis Gorge scheme was resisted by Tom Weir I think and that drew a line in the sand effectively.

Thank goodness. If that or any of the few other major unaffected Glens was proposed again now, I imagine there would be massive objections and resistance.

rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to malky_c:
Re; "The Hydro" - there are a few copies kicking around in Highland libraries - 2 reference and one lending. The Reference Room in Inverness Library is open Mon-Sat, usually well into the early evening, so you can always read it there. Far more detailed and informative than "The Hydro Boys"
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

The Affric one, Loch Beinn a' Mheadhain, is fed by a tunnel from Loch Mullardoch and is rarely drawn down much. There is no direct power generation from Loch Mullardoch other than the wee 1MW set at the start of the tunnel.

Personally I don't have a major issue with the schemes that were built but I am glad places like Nevis and Loch Maree were left alone. All of this was demand led remember.
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

Have you seen this? http://www.corestore.org/hydro.htm
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> The Affric one, Loch Beinn a' Mheadhain, is fed by a tunnel from Loch Mullardoch and is rarely drawn down much. There is no direct power generation from Loch Mullardoch other than the wee 1MW set at the start of the tunnel.
>
> Personally I don't have a major issue with the schemes that were built.

Mullardoch would be a fantastic wild Glen without the scheme there.....horrible as it is.
rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Thanks for an excellent and concise description. Wind is a complete dead end when it comes to powering the grid. On a small scale it works for those few households who are off-grid and have a suitable battery storage system (providing, of course, they don't use electricity for uses like cooking and space heating), and for isolated communities with backup diesel generators (eg on Fair Isle) but otherwise they are a waste of space. The pumped storage "solution" is a red herring. In addition, espite huge investment conventional hydro generation is miniscule in relation to UK demand. Even in the Highlands, with their small population and minimal industrial base, demand was such that the NSHEB were "importing" electricity from elsewhere from the early 1960s.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba: Love the picture at the top..He looks like a parking attendant....what uniform is that?
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

please see my post in reply to tom at 10.16 re: germany

anyone got any response? genuinely interested to know the answer to this
Sir Chasm - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: Lower population density? Less restrictive planning controls? A history (in the east) of not giving a toss about their physical environment?
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Glen Cannich is already "wild". There is hardly a soul there. There are less people now than there were before the hydro. Agree'd it's not a lovely dam unlike the Monar one.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:

no, the point about the wind blowing intermittently so therefore wind power not being reliable and so basically being a subsidy generator rather than a power generator

i'm guessing the wind doesnt blow constantly in germany either, and im not aware of any large scale pumped storage schemes, so how do they deal with this problem?

is it actually as big a problem as its made out to be?

cheers
gregor
rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I believe the Germans are about to embark on a major construction programme involving a large number of coal burning stations. I suppose it's either that or rely on buying-in nuclear generation from France or relying on Russian gas. The Danes apparently rely on hydro from Norway to cover the gaps when the wind doesn't blow at the right speed at the right time, and it's very expensive. The Norwegians, incidentally, appear to be the only European country who can manage an almost 100% renewable strategy; they are lucky enough to have a very small population and a very large country, most of which is mountainous enough to provide lots of suitable sites for hydro, both conventional and pumped storage. Alex Salmond is keen on a North Sea interconnector between Norway and Scotland, ostensibly so we can export wind-generated power. in reality the flow will mostly be in the opposite direction, and it's going to be expensive too. Great for the Norwegian economy, not so great for the Scots.
rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
I'll second that. The Monar dam is a wonderfully elegant structure, whereas the Mullardoch dam always strikes me as looking like a film set - the walls of a fortified city straight out of some science fiction dystopia.
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

Very true. That corestore site and various other sources are great for understanding the many tunnels and directions of water flow.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

..but i'm given to understand that amount of energy germany generates from wind is double the uk; and they are not noted for making poor decisions, so the intermittency of the wind doesnt seem to be the killer flaw that some suggest.

i dont think anyone is suggesting wind is The Answer, but the experience of germany suggests to me it can be part of an answer, and possibly a bigger part than it is at present

whether it should be is another argument, but on the narrow point of intermittency, its doesnt appear to be the no-brainer end of the world flaw that some posters would have it be,

cheers
gregor
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Glen Cannich is already "wild". There is hardly a soul there.

Yes, Glen Cannich is very fine and Strath Farrar a really beautiful Glen. However, once you get you get up past the dams, they are both pretty horible; the loveliness of the lower glens just hints at what has been lost to the hydro schemes in the upper glens.

I agree that the dams themselves can, like wind turbines, be elegant and impressive structures. The reservoirs behind them are, with few exceptions, almost always hideously ugly.
rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
It's actually a little more than that - around 7% in Germany as opposed to 2.5% in the UK. As to dealing with intermittency, I thought I'd already explained that: either they import nuclear from France or (more likely) rely on gas generation which has relatively fast start-up and shut-down times, at least fast compared with nuclear and coal. Wind power is often promoted on the grounds that it will displace both nuclear and Co2 producing coal. in practice it does neither. You can check this out for yourself by having a look at www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk - monitor it at various times over a few days and it is apparent that when wind is producing a lot, it has next to no effect on nuclear and coal burn. Also good for demonstrating the role of pumped storage in coping with peaks in demand.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

are those figures for total power generation, or just domestic electricity? i thought for the latter the numbers were much higher, though appreciate its a small part of an overall whole

i suppose what i'm saying is that i often see the argument advanced that wind power is pointless, as it is intermittent, so we shouldn't expand it

but germany has a considerably higher level of wind generation, and it would appear to work for them

i wouldnt claim that wind will displace anything, and it must have a ceiling contribution, but thats a lot of electricity being supplied to teh german grid at present that would presumably come from other sources were the turbines not there, so i'd argue it does have a place as a part of a larger jigsaw, with nuclear probably being the biggest part of the picture

roll on fusion power to save us all from our profligacy...!

cheers
gregor
rabthecairnterrier - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

The higher the proportion of wind on the grid the higher the proportion of gas generation you need to make up for frequent and unpredictable shortfalls. At present Germany generates around one-fifth of its electricity using gas. If they are dependent on imported gas - which I believe they are - this is problematic for them. On the other hand they do have lots of coal, much of it lignite which is not "clean"coal.

Basically, as wind is intermittent, it cannot provide baseload generation, neither can it respond to demand, which begs the question of what it actually IS for. There is also the issue of cost: the "fuel" for wind may be free, but as 100% backup capacity is required the consumer has to pay the capital cost twice over - once for the windfarms, once for the gas (or whatever else). At a time of rising fuel poverty this is a serious issue for many.

Anyway, don't have the time to debate this further as I have to leave for work now.

Chers,

Rab
malky_c - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba, Mike_Watson_99 and rabthecairnterrier:

Cheers for the advice and offers. I'll probably have a look in the library in Inverness at some point - seems the easiest solution. I did pick up 'The Hydro Boys' at the time, which was full of interesting anecdotes, but a bit limited when it came to strategy and engineering detail.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:

ok, no worries...

but for later, or for others, if its difficult to see what wind power is for, why have the germans gone for it in such amounts? why is it that this otherwise intensely practical, and hugely successful country has made such an apparent schoolboy error?

i find it difficult to believe they have abdicated reason on this, and have yet to be persuaded that there is no role for wind power, and indeed an expansion of wind power, as part of a range of generating sources,

cheers

gregor
Sir Chasm - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs: Perhaps they're being good Europeans and just accepting the financial hit in aiming to meet the EU directive on 2020 renewables.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:

perhaps

my sister in law is german, will ask her when i see her next,

cheers
gregor
tony on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to rabthecairnterrier:
>
> Basically, as wind is intermittent, it cannot provide baseload generation, neither can it respond to demand, which begs the question of what it actually IS for. There is also the issue of cost: the "fuel" for wind may be free, but as 100% backup capacity is required the consumer has to pay the capital cost twice over - once for the windfarms, once for the gas (or whatever else). At a time of rising fuel poverty this is a serious issue for many.
>
It's one of the myths put about by opponents of wind power that wind needs 100% back up. This quite simply isn't true. Wind does need back up (or reserve, to use the correct terminology) but so does all generation - there is always reserve generation allocated for potential failure. And it's not the case that this reserve generation is always running - there are different types of reserve generation, and among the ways they are differentiated is by the speed of response. Nuclear is very slow, whereas gas (and to a lesser extent coal) are quicker to respond, and are more often used as reserve generation.

Intermittency is an issue. One of the ways to deal with this is accommodated within our current balancing mechanism, which matches supply and demand. The balancing mechanism works on half-hour slots, and generators are asked to submit bids to supply amounts of electricity over a 24 hour period, split into half hour slots. The National Grid then selects, or dispatches, the required generation, based partly on price, but also on location of generation (particularly with respect to other dispatched generation). So, if a wind generator knows it's not going to be windy, they don't bid for any slots, and a different generator is dispatched for that slot. This is not very different to a conventional generator opting out of slots, for a variety of reasons, such as maintenance downtime. Alternatively, if the wind generator knows there will be a good steady wind, they will bid and be allocated if their bids meet the National Grid requirements. There are financial penalties for supplying more or less than the bid amounts, so a good deal of care goes into the bids.

At any time, we need to have a surplus of generating capacity, to meet unusual demand and to prevent grid failure in the event of a power station failure. Another benefit of a decent surplus is the ability to pick and choose the most suitable generation at a given time. Of course, there is a cost to having this surplus capacity, and that has always been the case. I'm not sure what the position is now, but it was the case a few years ago when the amount of surplus capacity was decreasing to dangerously low levels, but that was more as a result of failure to replace aging conventional power stations. The intermittency of wind also contributes to the cost, and the cost varies according to the amount of wind generation available - at low levels (less than 5% of total electricity requirement), the costs are also low, but at higher levels, above 10%, they do start becoming significant. At this point, one question that needs to be asked is whether this is a cost that society is willing to pay in order to reduce carbon emissions.
abcdefg - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

> There is currently much debate/outcry about the environmental intrusiveness of wind turbines. Was there any similar debate/outcry about the massive hydro building drive ...

I don't know about the historical situation in Scotland, but there was a *huge* outcry about such development in the Tasmanian wilderness areas in the '70s and '80s. It finally came to a head in the protests against the proposed 'Gordon below Franklin' hydro scheme.

Google for that, and for 'Lake Pedder', if you want to know more.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to abcdefg:

and i belive john muir had a few things to say about hydro
Jack Frost - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> There is currently much debate/outcry about the environmental intrusiveness of wind turbines. Was there any similar debate/outcry about the massive hydro building drive which drastically changed so many Scottish glens?

The access to information which we all have nowadays was obviously not always thus. In the age of the Hydro schemes, there was no online planning system on which to review/object to applications; all correspondence would be through letters; neighbour notification was probably a pinned up letter on the post-office wall that never was read.

So the 'much debate/outcry' that we see today over Wind Turbines is only because people have a free public medium on which to give their views.

Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Jack Frost:
Excellent point and very relevant I think.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:

I have no doubt that if one of the major schemes were proposed nowadays (Mullardoch if it didn't already exist say) there would be an absolutely massive outcry. There are far more people now who go to and love these places and I suspect the mobilisation of protest is far easier. certainly the scale of the post war devastation would be unthinkable now.
Having said that, I suppose we have all grown so used to the schemes' existence that we rarely stop to consider how huge their impact is. I took a moment to do so, and was struck by it enough to start this thread
Eric9Points - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
>
> I have no doubt that if one of the major schemes were proposed nowadays (Mullardoch if it didn't already exist say) there would be an absolutely massive outcry.

True but as I understand it these schemes brought electricity to many in the Highlands.

To answer you original question, reservoirs mimic natural features, quite often you can mistake a reservoir for a loch. You can't do that with wind turbines or power lines.
verygneiss - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Ethics declaration: part of my work is involved with the construction of windfarms.

Anyway...

One point about windfarms, regardless of their aesthetics and location, is the fact that their construction does support the economy of the H&I. Many local contractors are kept in business by construction and by the upgrading of the infrastructure required to feed energy into the system (Beauly-Denny and Dounreay-Beauly for example), and given the lack of other major infrastructure projects, this is definitely a positive.

The H&I are not just a pristine wilderness for the privileged to enjoy; people live here, and there are fewer employment opportunities than many other parts of the country. It's worth remembering that the wide open spaces of Scotland are almost entirely created by man: heather moorland is just another 'industrial' landscape, created by stalking and shooting, activities which allow people to remain in rural areas.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> To answer you original question, reservoirs mimic natural features, quite often you can mistake a reservoir for a loch.

Hardly ever. The ugly (unnatural) shore lines are a complete give away.

> You can't do that with wind turbines or power lines.

No, but at least wind turbines have an elegant beauty which reservoir shorelines certainly do not have. Power lines, I sgree, are ugly.

Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to verygneiss:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> It's worth remembering that the wide open spaces of Scotland are almost entirely created by man: heather moorland is just another 'industrial' landscape, created by stalking and shooting, activities which allow people to remain in rural areas.

Yes, these landscapes are man made in some senses, and the landscape and environment would be far more varied and attractive without them. I wouldn't use the emotive word "industrial" to describe them though, any more than I would use it about west coast villages or lowland farms - many of their elements are at least natural in the sense of consisting of plants and rocks. I find the scars of reservoirs aesthetically far more offensive.
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

You should buy a book called the "Last Highland Clearances" by Iain Mackay. Iain lived at Pait on the south side of Loch Monar before it was raised. he appears in Isolation Shepherd.

The book is about the effects of the hydro on the Highlands.
Eric9Points - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to verygneiss:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>

> The H&I are not just a pristine wilderness for the privileged to enjoy; people live here, and there are fewer employment opportunities than many other parts of the country. It's worth remembering that the wide open spaces of Scotland are almost entirely created by man: heather moorland is just another 'industrial' landscape, created by stalking and shooting, activities which allow people to remain in rural areas.

Arguable about the "man made" and certainly not industrial in the accepted sense of the word. One thing that is beyond doubt is that if the Highlands were allowed to revert completely back to nature you wouldn't be seeing turbines and landrover tracks sprouting out of the peat bogs.
Eric9Points - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Eric9Points)
> [...]
>
> Hardly ever. The ugly (unnatural) shore lines are a complete give away.
>

Exposed shorelines are a feature of natural lochs as well in times of low rainfall but I take your point.
The other difference is of course that a wind farm is visible 20 or even 30 miles away as a man made structure in what may often be seen as an otherwise natural landscape.
verygneiss - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:

Yeah, I think my choice of adjective wasn't great, but I couldn't think of a good way to describe this environment: interrupted climax community? Anthropogenic? It's deforestation and our encouragement of larger ungulates that has created it anyway.

But my main point was really about employment: the North needs all the help it can get in terms of employment.
abcdefg - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to verygneiss:

> But my main point was really about employment: the North needs all the help it can get in terms of employment.

That is a very short term gain. And even it if were a longer term one, it needs carefully to be weighed against the costs of what is lost.

Similar 'local employment' arguments were made in favour of the Trump golf course development on the SSSI site of the Menie Estate.
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:
> The other difference is of course that a wind farm is visible 20 or even 30 miles away as a man made structure in what may often be seen as an otherwise natural landscape.

I was up Ben Rinnes on a nice day earlier this year. There were about as many distillerys visible as wind farms. Neither really bothered me at all. A couple of weeks ago I was on the hills around Loch Quoich. The ugly loch was a continuous eyesore.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You should buy a book called the "Last Highland Clearances" by Iain Mackay. Iain lived at Pait on the south side of Loch Monar before it was raised.

Thanks. I'll check that out.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 09 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to rabthecairnterrier)
>
> ok, no worries...
>
> but for later, or for others, if its difficult to see what wind power is for, why have the germans gone for it in such amounts? why is it that this otherwise intensely practical, and hugely successful country has made such an apparent schoolboy error?

There is a strong Green movement in Germany and the coalition of greens, industry making the equipment, power companies who gain from higher prices and property owners installing wind and solar can get what they want from government.

But it is costing electricity consumers a fortune:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/consumers-bear-brunt-of-german-switch-to-renewable-energ...
Jim C - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:
> (In reply to rabthecairnterrier)
>
> ok, no worries...
>
> but for later, or for others, if its difficult to see what wind power is for, why have the germans gone for it in such amounts? why is it that this otherwise intensely practical, and hugely successful country has made such an apparent schoolboy error?
>
>
> cheers
>
> gregor

Well for one they can afford a little more Wind than others, they are surrounded by other countries that they can import from to counteract the intermittent generation .

Others have pointed out most other reasons, but my Green German friend tells me that they will become future thinkers rather than manufactures as they will struggle to compete with cheaper nations. Manufacturing like steel means high electricity demand so wind subsidies would make them very uncompetitive, (as it will make us) so It looks like that will be left to China, India and other countries that have few emission controls, so no matter what Europeans can save in co2 will be minuscule in comparison , and their co2 emissions per capita is still small, and will rise hugely with little controls.


yarbles - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
In your opinion wind farm impact pales into insignificance, I disagree with you there but aesthetics are a subjective matter. My prime gripe with wind power is its usefulness which simply does not even come close to that of hydro.

It is worth noting that hydro schemes often double up as water supply so the reservoirs can serve two purposes.

It's a cost / benefit matter, cost to the landscape vs benefit to the environment as a whole. Hydo produces meaningful electricity and can cut CO2 emissions, the effect of wind power may actually increase CO2 emissions.

Given the constraints of the electricity system they are an extraordinary waste of money and deeply immoral due to the wealth transfer they cause at the expense of many who live in fuel poverty. I'm sure if they could contribute meaningful power and significantly decrease CO2 emissions a lot more people would be in favour of them.

Pumped hydro and wind is not a realistic solution. Pumped hydro is primarily used to compensate for demand (relatively short durations). It can not compensate for lack of wind power over days of wind turbine inactivity as can occur in winter months. Even if hydro was used for wind backup, there are considerable efficiency losses due to electricity transmission to the hydro, pumping the water, generating the electricity again, then putting the electricity back into the system and transmission losses again. Losses at the hydro plant alone are ~25%, then you have significant losses in transmission due to the plants remote location. You would be lucky to get 50% of the electricity back.

The following article explains far better than I could:
http://www.templar.co.uk/downloads/Renewable%20Energy%20Limitations.pdf
yarbles - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to tony:
The fact that wind needs 100% back up is true. Sometimes there is no wind. This may occur at the same time as conventional plant downtime. In addition wind has a capacity factor of 0.3, that's 30%! It's not so much what is replacing wind, more what is wind power replacing when it does produce.

Reserve generation is always required, this is for plant downtime as well as load balancing. Wind power requires additional reserve capacity to meet the variation in supply.

Interesting that you mention gas. The gas plant capable of responding to variations in supply caused by wind are open cycle plants with an efficiency of ~39%. The more efficient combined cycle gas plant (~58%) cannot vary output due to fatigue problems. More gas is used and therefore more CO2 emissions are emitted.

A proportion of power must come from renewable sources, there is an obligation to source renewable power (ROCs). Therefore it is not a level playing field, the reality is you have conventional plant operating off their peak efficiency emitting more CO2/kwh. A conventional plant will opt out of slots for maintenance downtime, however this is usually planned. Conventional plant is very reliable. Wind output is not steady, even when the wind blows it varies. This requires operating reserve, emitting CO2.

And regarding your final point about the grid requiring surplus, this surplus has to be reliable. Wind does not count as it is not reliable and requires a separate back up.
Jim C - on 10 Nov 2012
In reply to yarbles:
> (In reply to tony)

Good points.
Is it just my own perception,or do the posters in favour of wind never argue with figures, or from any scientific basis, that can be substantiated, or challenged.

I'm sure I'm wrong, so lets hear it, where is the scientific evidence for the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Wind?

(Please don't insult our intelligence by simply quoting pro-Wind lobby 'assertions', they are not evidence, simply propaganda put out to protect their subsidies. )

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