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The serious flaws that make our renewable energy strategy useless

We have to accept that the "real time" generation of electricity from a plethora of renewable energy is a seriously flawed strategy that will not get us closer to carbon-free generation any time soon, if ever. The "energy mix" is just a pretty lame excuse for the inadequacies of these puny wind and marine devices that litter our landscapes and seabed.

Alan J Sangster suggests, erroneously, that I claimed that induction generators "have the unfortunate effect of amplifying frequency instability on the grid" (Letters, The Herald, July 21). He then continues at length to explain why this is not a problem and I agree with him on that. However, the "problem" I was actually averring to was distortion and contamination by these wind-powered "amplifiers" of the pure synchronous electricity that issues from our coal-fired power stations. This is a problem that cannot be solved by electronic wizardry unless somebody can come up with a way of removing the bluster from the wind.

The irony is that for every installed MW of wind power we need about 1MW of coal-fired backup for when the wind is not blowing, and around 5.7MW of coal derived synchronous background generation when it is.

We have to accept that the "real time" generation of electricity from a plethora of renewable energy is a seriously flawed strategy that will not get us closer to carbon-free generation any time soon, if ever. The "energy mix" is just a pretty lame excuse for the inadequacies of these puny wind and... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Alan J Sangster suggests, erroneously, that I claimed that induction generators "have the unfortunate effect of amplifying frequency instability on the grid" (Letters, The Herald, July 21). He then continues at length to explain why this is not a problem and I agree with him on that. However, the "problem" I was actually averring to was distortion and contamination by these wind-powered "amplifiers" of the pure synchronous electricity that issues from our coal-fired power stations. This is a problem that cannot be solved by electronic wizardry unless somebody can come up with a way of removing the bluster from the wind.

The irony is that for every installed MW of wind power we need about 1MW of coal-fired backup for when the wind is not blowing, and around 5.7MW of coal derived synchronous background generation when it is.

We have to accept that the "real time" generation of electricity from a plethora of renewable energy is a seriously flawed strategy that will not get us closer to carbon-free generation any time soon, if ever. The "energy mix" is just a pretty lame excuse for the inadequacies of these puny wind and marine devices that litter our landscapes and seabed. The big mistake was made during the Oil Crises in the 70s when we routinely burned oil to raise steam for the generation process. When the call went out for an alternate way (of heating water to make steam), the academics of the day started to develop alternative ways of generating electricity instead and we have been stuck with this flawed approach ever since. In other words, renewables have been generating the wrong commodity, real time electricity, when in fact these machines should have been generating renewable heat and storing it. Green electricity can then be generated, using routine thermodynamic processes, from large thermal stores to follow the peaks and troughs of demand.

Also, it is pretty unlikely that a single green electron has actually ever been consumed since the 70s and I will try to explain, using a cheesy metaphor, why. Consider a rectangular lump of cheese six centimetres high; each centimetre represents 10Giga-Watts(GW) of the UK's generating capacity. On top of the cheese there are patches of green mould, two millimetres thick, which represents the intermittent output of renewables. If we take a snapshot of demand during the working day there may be a demand of 50GW but 60GW is available in this scenario. The surplus 10GW plus any renewable green mould that may, or may not be present on top, is lost for ever.

The National Grid operates with a factor of safety, so that as the demand rises towards, say 55GW, nuclear power is called in from France and this slice of French cheese goes on the bottom until the peak period is over. The electrical demand line is never allowed to come close to the green mould and so green electricity is never used and never will be in its present format.


Source: http://www.theherald.co.uk/...

JUL 24 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21383-the-serious-flaws-that-make-our-renewable-energy-strategy-useless
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