FURTHER to the recently published WWF assertion within its The Energy of Scotland Report that as renewables grow in the future “there is little or no need for conventional generating capacity in Scotland”, the National Grid System Data site has recorded that Scotland was a huge importer of electricity each day for almost the entire last week of November.

This was principally due to the calm weather related loss of wind generation which also coincided with the unpredictable close-down of Torness conventional 600MW Unit 1 due to seaweed reducing the cooling water intake capability whilst its second unit was on planned reduced output for refuelling. Hunterston was outputting 1000MW of conventional generation throughout.

My randomly timed random checks show that Scotland from a week past Wednesday (November 23) was daily importing 1423MW, 1725MW, 1417MW 962MW,742MW, 524MW from England peaking, apparently, at 2550MW on November 23. Torness was fully back on line from November 26 still leaving Scotland importing hugely.

Loading article content

The existing transmission line interlinks with England are unable to cope with importing more than 2650MW which is the largely undeclared but prevailing reason for construction of the new £1bn HVDC Western Link from the Clyde to North Wales. It will be essential to cope with Scotland’s future inability to power itself. The power companies’ project website, however, cosily and predominately promotes this link as being necessary to cope with the future high levels of renewables exports.

Scotland presently has more than 6000MW of installed wind turbine capacity with around 8000MW approved and in the pipeline. During high pressure, low wind conditions, irrespective of the levels of wind based renewables we have, Scotland will remain incapable, over extended periods, of producing enough dispatchable electricity to meet its demand more so because Torness and Hunterston will be gone.

Industry requires energy.

The EngineeringUK 2016 Report identifies that engineering produces almost half of all UK exports. Its financial contribution to the economy (Gross Value Added) is 66 per cent of the UK total, it provides 27 per cent of our GDP and pays 24 per cent of all UK taxes. This makes it larger than the sum of the UK financial and insurance and retail and wholesale sectors combined, dwarfing the much vaunted London Financial Square Mile. In reality therefore engineering businesses are where the greatest wealth creation lies within the UK.

Topically, more cars are built in Sunderland than in the whole of Italy.

As Scotland switches to renewables, existing Scottish industry is becoming increasingly dependent upon England and Wales for its lifeblood energy. In the WWF vision it will, by 2030, become ultimately totally dependent on its neighbours.

The recent study by Barclays bank (“Energy price fears revealed by key survey”, Herald Business, November 29) found that 59 per cent of Scottish manufacturers believe they are vulnerable to energy shortages with 46% expecting shortages within the next ten years.

Wittingly reducing the ability of our electricity grid to support our wealth generation as promoted by WWF and friends is akin to pre-Victorian blood-letting as a strategy to keep the patient alive.

The last week of November was a glimpse of Scotland’s future.

DB Watson,

Saviskaill, Langdales Avenue, Cumbernauld.