Further written evidence submitted by Mrs. V.C.K. Metcalfe (EB 15)
Recent dialogues with engineers have produced a stark warning about the viability of the UK’s Energy Policy, and in particular in respect of the economic effects of wind power. The technology is financially unsound as large amounts of electricity are produced when there is no demand or demand is so low that the product cannot not be used. Therefore production has to be curtailed or sold off at very low prices. It is obvious and well understood that in order to avoid bankruptcy businesses must recover costs. Given that the capital investment required for a wind program is massive compared to combined cycle gas investments, it is an added advantage that gas plants can be switched on and off to benefit from higher prices. Wind production however, occurs at any time, and at least 50 % of the time when prices are very low. So more capacity adds more pressure on prices.
What is happening in Denmark for example is as expected. Danish exports went from 215m in 2010 to 31m last year which is equivalent to building about 30 megawatts per year. No wonder they have had to cut off 400 megawatts when the price drops due to the seriously poor wholesale price. Last year PFBach estimated over long periods in December wholesale prices were hovering between +€30 per meg to -€30 per meg averaging at about about €7 per meg without transmission costs included. The potential for collapse is clear as the more capacity they add the lower the wholesale price goes. It is very possible that 800 megawatts may have to be shut down when the wholesale price declines further. In economics it is called the ‘elasticity of supply and demand.’ Keep increasing supply/capacity and there is only one place the wholesale price is going - that is down. Immense care must be taken if the UK is not to FOLLOW Denmark into disaster despite all the evidence of this plainly available beforehand. There must be accountability if we are not mirror the banking collapse – or worse.
To further demonstrate the levels of dangers faced, the following information contained in these links should be carefully read as there is a very sobering report out from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers on the UK Energy Outlook - which clearly has serious implications for the UK economy. See http ://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2016/1/26/hunky-dory.html
In respect of IPCC renewable reports, for how chronically flawed and defective they are, see here :
http://the-law-is-my-oyster.com/2016/01/24/its-academic-research-it-must-be-true/#comments As a thousand billion Euros has already been spent on turbines and solar panels in Europe, it should be appreciated just how far such an astronomical sum would have gone in terms of health care, education, infrastructure, etc.,
Increasing the PSO significantly if considered as an option, would drive down demand further thereby decreasing wholesale prices. So what ever action is taken will not avoid implosion. Wind turbines are products of flawed engineering put on the market to obtain subsidies - not to supply a commercial need. Therefore the level of Research & Development (R&D) appears to be kept low to avoid the length of time taken significantly reducing the opportunity for profit – as excess R&D costs serve to make a profitable sale impossible. With regard to reliability, two American Engineers have discovered a significant technology problem with very large wind turbines and have developed a ratio identifying those which have a high risk of collapsing. It is called the ‘Wind Over Power Ratio’ and is calculated by dividing the cut out speed by the rated power speed and cubing it. If the answer is too much greater than 4.6 - the risk increases. Siemens have modified their 3.2 and 3.4 megawatt direct drives increasing the rated power from 11 to 12 meters per second to 14 to 15 meters per second, halving the ratio. Their 3 megawatt direct drive ranges between 9.06 to 11.6 . It not yet known whether Siemens will be forced to re-engineer their commissioned 3 megawatt direct drives to reduce the risk of these collapsing. It is both economically and technically unviable to press ahead with imposing ever higher numbers of developments in prevailing circumstances.
An extract from a report from the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, IESIS dated 18.11.15 www.iesisenergy.org
"In our developed world the Government has a very high level of responsibility to ensure the constancy of electrical power that underpins all our essential economic and well-being needs. The imminent closure of Longannet threatens all of us in ways which are, regrettably, not well-understood. As Scotland’s most senior Engineering Institution we offer our strongest advice that this situation would significantly increase the likelihood of a crisis which will not only inconvenience the public but also has the potential to cost lives and create economic harm.
Scotland currently enjoys a position of being a net exporter of electrical energy to England and Northern Ireland. The loss of Longannet not only threatens this position but it also increases the risk of instability of the electricity grid in Scotland. This could result in a loss of power not just locally but in a total shut down of the Scottish electricity network. Such a situation would likely result in many hours/several days recovery period with concomitant losses to our ability to respond to those in dire need whilst simultaneously impacting on our economy. As responsible Professional Engineers we feel compelled to bring these matters to the attention of the public."
Finally, in his submission to Southern Ireland’s planners – section 5.3 (page 24) http://www.westcorkwind.com/images/Adobe/EPAW_N-S.pdf
Fellow of the Institute of Chem.Engineers & chartered environmentalist Pat Swords said:
"Even if the priority issues are appropriately addressed now, the lead-in time for the required infrastructure investment means that stability and supply issues will become even more acute in the short term."
All of the above shows that the ‘writing’ is not only ‘on the wall’ but that it is ‘writ large.’
It is trusted that the Committee during their deliberations will consider and pass on to decision makers all the implications arising from the information given.