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Malcolm – Sound of Islay tides obviously don’t …

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

Malcolm – Sound of Islay tides obviously don’t run 24 hours a day, but they do reach up to 10 knots. The facts are that the Sound of Islay turbines will generate enough power to supply Islay, obviously in conjunction with the mainland link (that will also be linked to the new hydro power project on Jura).
The ten turbines will generate 30GWh per year, equivalent to the annual needs of Islay – with its high industrial demand – or 5,000 average uk homes. As it’s tidestream power, the output will not be continuous and Islay will still presumably need the diesel power station at Bowmore and the subsea links to the national grid (the Jura hydro scheme is not pumped storage and in any case is only 1-2Mw output, i.e. sufficient for Jura’s needs).
The point is that the new turbines are already tested and proven in construction and operation in both Norway and Orkney, and thus ready for full scale application, and that’s why I objected to your comment. I don’t know the cost details, but the Sound of Islay scheme is intended to be a commercial working power station to demonstrate the viability of this particular technology; the next step will be to deploy it on a far larger scale in the Pentland Firth. I think that they’ve done their homework, Malcolm – yes it’s pioneering the future but it’s realistic, practical, and doesn’t deserve your blanket criticism.

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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