Scotland’s Clean Energy Path Avoids New Nukes

Last November, the Scottish government committed £18 million (about $29 million) to develop the country’s first commercial wave and tidal power plants. The money is part of a larger £35 million fund created to support the marine and tidal industry over the course of three years.

offfshore wind power cape wind

image via Shutterstock

But even with significant increases in hydro, wave, marine and wind energy, Scotland’s challenge will be to revamp basic infrastructure to accomodate a dramatically different electricity generation system if it is to succeed in reaching its goal. Unlike massive thermal power plants, renewable energy generation is generally smaller and distributed and variable. New transmission lines need to be built, new energy management and load reduction systems need to be in place, and energy storage needs to be secured for times when renewable generation slows.

If Scotland succeeds, the country will be a dramatic example of success for the the rest of the world. A relatively small country with less than optimal domestic resources, Scotland will need maximize its use of ingenuity, government support and scientific discovery to switch to renewables. But one thing is certain, if Scotland can do it, then large industrial countries can do it too. It’s all a matter of time and commitment.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture www.layda.org.

    • lftrsuk

      I wonder what services the people of Scotland will do without, or how much extra tax they will have to pay to support the ludicrous costs of renewable energy. The Royal Academy of Engineers reports that onshore wind costs twice as much as conventional nuclear and offshore wind three times as much. You don’t need experts to spell it out for you – with under 30% capacity factors, intermittency, back-up power generation and pumped storage – you know it’s ludicrous; you know it’s wishful thinking; you know a U turn is inevitable, after your ‘trusted’ elected representatives have poured your hard earned taxes down the drain.

      Get behind Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs). They’re half the price of conventional nuclear, so they’ll be one quarter or one sixth of the price of renewables. See this blog post for what your support could bring about:  http://lftrsuk.blogspot.com/p/benefits-of-lftrs.html