Energy Strategy Consultation: Common Weal submission

Common Weal’s submission backed the idea of a national energy company and called for it to control the energy supplied under new schemes

COMMON WEAL has published its paper towards the Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy consultation, originally submitted in May.

The detailed submission covering all aspects of energy strategy can be read in full here. It is authored by Susan Brush, metallurgist and environmental practitioner, Iain Wright, retired energy expert who worked in the industry for over 35 years, and Gordon Morgan, Common Weal energy researcher.

The paper “warmly welcomes” the draft energy strategy but argues that UK Government energy policy is likely to act to undermine it, and therefore argues that the Scottish Government should pursue full devolution of energy policy to Holyrood.

The proposal for a Scottish Government owned energy company, announced in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s recent speech at SNP Conference, is  “strongly” supported, stating:

“We strongly support the establishment of a Scottish Energy Company which can support local energy cooperatives and smaller public energy companies and provide a level playing field for energy pricing and investment. This should be backed by Energy Bonds and a public investment bank. Indeed if the model for the public energy company was the Danish Energy Agency, which administers energy and supply in Denmark, many of the problems associated with a privatised energy market could be addressed.”

It goes on to argue that for this company to be effective it “must control the energy supplied under schemes be they district heating, wind turbine, geothermal energy or hydrogen generation” and rejects the idea of a “sleeve arrangement” to supply solely public bodies with energy, arguing for a “properly scoped, licensed energy company”.

Other key points include:

- The energy strategy should be tied in more to industrial strategy to ensure it maximises potential to meet economic goals. This could follow the example of Iceland which has pursued a reindustrialisation strategy of aluminium production and renewable energy generation in tandem.

- The target of supplying 50% of all of Scotland’s energy consumption from renewables is the right one, but in order to meet it bigger inroads must be made into decarbonising heating and transport. 

- The development of hydrogen production in Scotland should be supported by moving all council vehicles to hydrogen, and the development of hydrogen buses and ferries should be explored so fuel cell technologies become “an integral part of Scotland’s manufacturing base”.

- The roll out of a “programme of major refurbishment to the existing building stock with a view to reducing energy consumption through improved insulation, better heating / cooling / lighting systems, heat recovery where practical, and improved control systems” in order to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty, which should be enforced through tighter regulation on the private rented sector in particular.


Scottish Scientist

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:29


Scottish Scientist
Independent Scientific Adviser for Scotland

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Scottish Scientist

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:45

"We would assume a 25% overcapacity of winter peak demand needs to be built in through additional energy storage and standby plant."
- Energy Strategy Consultation: Common Weal Submission
"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there"

"Assume" no more.

"Wind, storage and back-up system designer"

Peak demand, wind and back-up power / energy usage and storage capacity calculator

For the specification and design of renewable energy electricity generation systems which successfully smooth intermittent wind generation to serve customer demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year.

Adopting the recommendation derived from scientific computer modelling that the energy storage capacity be about 5 hours times the wind power capacity, the tables offer rows of previously successful modelled system configurations - row A, a configuration with no back-up power and rows B to G offering alternative ratios of wind power to back-up power. Columns consist of adjustable power and energy values in proportion to fixed multiplier factors.

Replies, comments and questions about using the Wind, storage and back-up system designer at this link please.

Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power

Scottish Scientist

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:53

Has concerns regards the primacy given to the development and commercialisation of CCS, and has questions regards its technical feasibility and cost effectiveness and the implication that fossil fuel plants could be retained longer than necessary.
- Energy Strategy Consultation: Common Weal Submission
So-called "Carbon Capture and Storage" (CCS) which captures Carbon Dioxide gas is a fraud because the gas will leak eventually.

CCS schemes are promoted by the fossil fuel industry, not because they work, but to use as a smoke screen to continue business as usual, pretending to have a realistic plan to meet climate change targets.

The only kind of Carbon Capture and Storage which should be considered "climate friendly" is when the carbon is captured as carbon or carbonate (solid) but not as carbon dioxide (gas).

Most of the global CO2 from burning fossil fuels will leak long before it gets stored underground.

Most CO2 will "leak" from coal and gas power station flues in a business as usual way because "carbon capture and storage" is never seriously scientifically intended to be put into routine use in all power stations.

Most fossil fuel power stations will never have CCS equipment installed. NEVER.

In the few token projects which are set up some of the CO2 will even leak before it is compressed for transportation.

Some will leak in transport from power station to sequestration site.

Some will leak while being pumped supposedly through a pipeline to injection wells under the seabed.

Finally, the comparatively minuscule amount of CO2 which ever gets underground will sooner or later leak up the shaft down which it has been pumped some time after pumping stops, not least so as to make room for more to be so-called "pumped down" whenever the inspector from the relevant regulatory authority is checking up to see what is really happening to the CO2.

Unlike storing natural gas that can be burned profitably so long as gas power stations are in operation, there will be absolutely no financial incentive whatsoever to stop the CO2 leaking.

All the incentives favour leaking so leak it will, all of it, sooner or later.

Scottish Scientist

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 23:56

My open letter & submission to Scottish Government’s energy strategy consultation

Scottish Scientist

Sat, 10/14/2017 - 00:11

"we believe that investment in new, large scale pumped storage schemes is essential. However this technology, though proven, is expensive, with its costs dependent on the unique characteristics of each site."
- Energy Strategy Consultation: Common Weal Submission
That's particularly so for the cost of energy storage which can vary hugely depending on the volume of water which can be impounded.

The cost of power doesn't vary so much.

Design is also a cost factor.

The same site could be developed more cheaply and quickly if instead of having to bury all the works inside of a mountain for aesthetic reasons, costs could be saved by using surface pipes, buildings etc.

World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

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