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  • in reply to: Too Much Of A Good Thing: Scotland Gags On Wind Power #18657

    Thanks Euan for a fascinating article. However I must agree with some other respondents that the analysis appears to be coloured by a grumpy tone.
    The problem you outline is to be expected in a system driven by renewables. In our remote photovoltaic household electricity system in the SE Queensland mountains, we go from feast to famine according to the weather. Currently in the summer wet season, our supply is marginal, we scrimp on electricity, charge our ebike batteries at mains-supplied neighbours’ and occasionally have to use a petrol motor to charge the batteries. However during the dry spring, we have a surplus of electricity. To use as much as we can, we cut firewood with the electric chainsaw, cook with electricity (instead of using charcoal or gas), etc.. But every sunny day the regulator still switches off the panels once the batteries are full. We have the choice to wring our hands worrying that the capital invested in the panels is wasted, or being grateful for the adequacy we have and thinking of additional ways to embody the surplus power.
    Similarly, in the Scottish situation you outline, at the worst, wind turbines may need to be feathered in times of surplus and their potential output wasted. This will be at an economic cost to someone, but (as has been proposed above already) it also offers the opportunity of low-cost energy, which time of use pricing may be able to facilitate.
    This is just how it is with renewable energy. If you want a high proportion of your supply to be renewable most of the time, you will probably have times when you can’t use it all.

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