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Scientific Alliance Slams Audit Scotland Renewables Report

Scientific Alliance Scotland has questioned whether Audit Scotland is giving value for money to Scottish taxpayers after reviewing its report on Renewable Energy published last week.  The Alliance has called the report “complacent and anodyne” and is highly critical of the partisan nature of the Audit Scotland advisory group.  Scientific Alliance Scotland Chairman Professor Tony Trewavas said: “Far from being the thorough and forensic dismemberment of current Scottish Government renewables energy policy which it should be, this report is very disappointing....

The Costs of Wind Energy

There are costs and benefits to everything in life. The costs of wind energy are high and the benefits few. Every country needs a cheap, reliable supply of electricity and wind energy is neither. Cheap-because money spent on expensive electricity is not available to spend on education, health, infrastructure. Cheap- because electricity is essential for heating, cold houses kill every winter. Cheap-because the price of our goods in global markets is underpinned by electricity price. Cheap-because only a vibrant, creative economy using the cheapest energy will survive in an uncertain future....

Fracking is more efficient than wind farms

by DR JACK PONTON IT IS an article of faith among the environmental lobby that wind energy is benign and undisruptive, and that obtaining shale gas by hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) is damaging and disruptive. The claims that fracking causes earthquakes, wholesale pollution of watercourses and inflammable tap water are easily dismissed by impartial examination of actual experience. The technique has been in use for decades in the United States, and to a lesser extent in the UK. None of these things have happened. Activists have simply alighted on an unfamiliar...

Cruachan - Double or Quits?

The reports that the Scottish Government is encouraging a doubling of the installed generating capacity at the Cruachan pumped storage station in the expectation that this will increase our hydro output does not suggest that Scotland's energy policy is getting back on the rails. There seems to be no limit to the additional burdens the Scottish administration is prepared to load on the electricity consumer while denying him a secure electricity supply. The point needs to be made that a pumped storage station does not produce energy; it consumes it and over 20% of the energy used in...

Ten myths concerning nuclear power

by KEITH BURNS Fruits of modern technology in power plants should be embraced for the good of all, says Keith Burns Civil nuclear power’s historical links with nuclear weapons (and Chernobyl, Fukushima and suchlike) colours our perceptions of this important source of energy. We don’t eschew high explosives for their many valuable uses because they can kill people when abused. We keep driving cars despite the daily death toll. The fruits of technology always present us with the Faustian dilemma of use for good or evil. The safe application of knowledge depends on the...

The Difficulty of Making Money from Wind Generated Electricity

Although he has not recently described  Scotland as “the Saudi Arabia of renewables”, Mr Salmond and other supporters of his wind energy policies are still claiming  that it is possible for us make money selling renewable energy to the rest of the world, as Saudi Arabia does with its oil. Any comparison with Saudi Arabia is self evidently silly. That country produces about 10 million barrels of oil per day. In energy terms this means that their energy output is at a rate equivalent to about 25kw per head of population. Meeting the SNP’s target of “100%...

We need a standing commission on electricity

by COLIN GIBSON There is confusion regarding the review of the commercial and financial arrangements of electricity supply. Whereas generating plant provides energy [MWh], it must in addition provide power capacity [MW] essential to maintain security of supply at times of peak demand. The current market arrangement deals in energy only. So it is not surprising that considerable concern is now being expressed about the ability of this arrangement to deliver sufficient power capacity at times of peak demand and ensure security of supply. With large subsidies for wind generation, the...

Waterfront property The Economist, 5th July 2007

The folly of building on floodplains   IT HAS been a strange spring, even by British standards. After sweltering through the hottest April for over a century and shivering during an unusually cold May, the country was deluged by the wettest June since records began. Up to seven people died in the subsequent floods; 27,000 homes and 5,000 businesses had to be evacuated. Firemen and paramedics described the rescue efforts as the biggest-ever in peacetime. Insurers gave warning that the final bill would be more than £1 billion. As the waters began to drain away and the...

Nuclear Energy the Key to a Low Carbon Future

  Caledonian Mercury; 2 February 2011 Scotland has ambitious plans to become a world leading low carbon economy. But to deliver on this ambition will take some clear thinking about how we will generate energy in the future. More importantly, we need to learn from our past and recognise that we have been decarbonising our economy for nearly 400 years. The beginning of the substitution of coal for wood during the Elizabethan era was our first transition to a low carbon economy. Surprisingly, coal is a low carbon fuel since per unit of energy produced it releases less...

'Renewable energy: vision or mirage?' - press coverage

Renewable Energy: Vision or Mirage? is available here Renewable energy is unreliable, says report (The Times; 12.12.11) Alex Salmond’s vision of a Scotland powered by wind, wave and tidal energy has suffered a major setback with the publication today of a highly critical report warning that the SNP’s plans for a renewables revolution will never work. The report, compiled by the right-leaning think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, claimed that renewable energy was too unreliable ever to replace gas, coal and nuclear generation. Researchers insisted that wind energy, on...

Current Issues


Future costs of UK energy supply

The Scientific Alliance recently published part 1 of an examination of National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios, dealing with security of supply. We are now pleased to publish part 2 - cost of supply. The authors - Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson - conclude that building more gas and nuclear stations would be considerably less expensive than any of the NG scenarios, as well as offering better energy security.

What's New

14 October 2016: Read the new report by Dr Capell Aris, published jointly with the Adam Smith Institute - Solar power in Britain: the Impossible Dream