Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A brain disconnect

On Sunday, Booker was telling us how Salmond is going to fiddle his hubristic pledge that 100 percent of Scotland's "gross electricity consumption" will come from renewable sources by 2020,

To become notionally self-sufficient in power supply, he will have to have built windmills roughly three times more plated capacity than is required for the notional maximum consumption, which means that at times Scotland will be producing more power than it needs.

The scam is, it would appear, that Salmond aims to sell this power to England, at up to three times the price of electricity produced with fossil fuel, while making up the shortfall when the wind doesn't blow enough – or at all – by buying in power from England, at fossil fuel prices. By this means, he hopes to make profits of billions of pounds.

But, in order to make this happen, a fortune must be spent on connecting the windmills to the grid, and then providing the interconnectors so that power can be pumped over the border, in both directions.

And lo and behold, Ofgem is to allow the two major Scottish utilities to add £7.7 billion to their charges for "modernisation" of the grid to enable this to happen. In terms of the Scottish population, that is over £1,500 for every man, woman and child.

Of course, Salmond thinks the Scots can get their money back from England. With the British government under-performing on its EU renewables quote, he thinks that it will have no option but to go for its one for the price three "blackmail" and cough up.

Whether he can pull it off is anyone's guess, but according to a commenter here, another £17.6 billion will be required for the National Grid and, with transmission losses of 10-15 percent just between Scotland and England, much of the money will be spent on heating up the atmosphere.

This happens to be George Wood, retired head of Technical and Economics, Balancing Services, National Grid. He simply does not understand this madness. It is "as though there has been a brain disconnect by our politicians", he says.

And who could possibly disagree?