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Malcolm, please: ‘you started off wrong’? – tides …

Comment posted Fife Council joins Aberdeenshire in asking for suspension of wind farm applications by Robert Wakeham.

Malcolm, please: ‘you started off wrong’? – tides don’t run all day – they slow down to ‘slack water’ at the top and bottom of the tide. Think about it, please. If you give yourself a day out and settle down on the pub bench outside the Port Askaig Hotel you can watch it all happen – freighters passing through at improbable speeds even outside the springs, and the Jura ferry scuttling across to Feolin sideways (and also demonstrating the variation in tide flow across the width of the sound). The turbines will have to be carefully sited to ensure they reap the maximum benefit from the tides – obviously it’s not up to ten knots ‘wall to wall’.
I don’t think you can question the credibility of the 30GWh figure predicted for tide turbines on the basis of over optimism in claims for wind farm performance, but time will tell.
On the question of cost, of course it’s expensive building and installing machines in this environment, but that’s one of the reasons for the Orkney trial – to find out where the problems are, and refine the cost predictions. The installation of the Orkney turbine in the worst weather for ten years, and its subsequent performance supplying the Eday grid, have both been reported highly successful. And thus, I think, confidence building. And don’t forget that hilltop wind farms always (I think) involve considerable expenditure in a roads infrastructure that is avoided in the marine context

Robert Wakeham also commented

  • Doc: I’ve been wondering whether Malcolm should be invoiced for the time it takes to educate him about matters that most people seem to be able to comprehend fairly easily, but there seems to be an element of wilful misinformation driven by some fairly strong prejudices. And as – when challenged on these – Malcolm gets a bit shirty I suppose it’s best to leave well alone, and just hope that some of the reasoned argument does eventually sink in.
  • Malcolm: You need to get out more, but these days the internet affords you the opportunity of finding out for yourself how tunnels have, in other parts of the world, provided an all-weather answer to the Dunoon-Gourock type of problem.
  • If superconnectors can help even out the supply from intermittent renewable power sources all to the well and good.
  • Malcolm – ‘Renewables will always need 100% backup from power stations’ – rather a misleading claim, given that the variability of the ever increasing amount of electricity from wind power makes the development of mass energy storage ever more pressing.
    The Cruachan and Foyers pumped storage stations are just a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared with what’s needed, but I bet there’ll be other ‘green’ techniques developed in the reasonably near future – hydrogen generation seems to be a frequently mooted idea – and your claim surely has less credibility in relation to tidestream and hydro power.
  • Some of us would like to get back to the ‘real and highly important subject’ before you discover General Franco as the answer to practically everything, Malcolm.

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