Use of thorium instead of uranium in reactors can allay virtually all public concern over weapons proliferation, radioactive pollution, toxic waste and fuel that is costly and complicated to process. Thorium is the most abundant, most readily available, cleanest and safest energy source on earth; yet it remains unknown by both the public and politicians. Novel reactor design, the liquid fuel thorium reactor (LFTR), uses thorium fluoride as both coolant and fuel. It has enormous advantages over the use of uranium in nuclear power; it is the fuel of the future.
The Scottish government has ambitious plans for spending vast sums of money on huge numbers of wind turbines and experimental wave and tidal energy projects in its bid to make Scotland “the Saudi Arabia of renewables”. But there is a growing realisation among the public that this simply pushes up electricity bills while reducing energy security and making it increasingly likely that the lights will go out. This might be feasible when it is English consumers who are bearing the brunt, but an independent Scotland would be crippled by bearing the costs of renewable energy alone.
Jack Ponton - The Scotsman November 2013
It is an article of faith amongst the environmental lobby that wind energy is good, benign and undisruptive, and that obtaining shale gas by hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ is damaging and disruptive.
The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has famously said that he has a vision of Scotland as “the Saudi Arabia of renewables”. Bluster and bravado aside, what he presumably means, and certainly implies, is that Scotland will make lots of money selling renewable energy to the rest of the world, as Saudi Arabia does with its oil.
There is confusion regarding the review of the commercial and financial arrangements of electricity supply. Whereas generating plant provides energy [MWh], it must in addition provide power capacity [MW] essential to maintain Security of Supply at times of peak demand. The current market arrangement deals in energy only.
There are costs and benefits to everything in life. The costs of wind energy are high and the benefits few. Every country needs a cheap, reliable supply of electricity and wind energy is neither. Cheap-because money spent on expensive electricity is not available to spend on education, health, infrastructure. Cheap- because electricity is essential for heating, cold houses kill every winter. Cheap-because the price of our goods in global markets is underpinned by electricity price.
There is a developing crisis in Scotland's electricity supply, created by the policies of successive UK governments but exacerbated by the Scottish Government. At times there will be a shortage which could lead to power cuts. At others, there will be an excess which cannot be used. This is a consequence of the huge increase in intermittent wind generated electricity.
In the third quarter of 2016, the Scientific Alliance published an authoritative study on the most recent Future Energy Scenarios paper from National Grid, written by Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson, both with many years experience at senior level in the electricity supply sector. The two parts of the study - covering security of supply and cost - can be downloaded below. These should be read by all policymakers and senior managers in the sector.
Professor Sir Colin Berry MD, DSc is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at Queen Mary College, London. He is a histopathologist with experience in the regulatory toxicology of materials, pesticides and pharmaceuticals for the UK government, the European Union and the WHO and FAO. He is interested in risk evaluation and assessment and the public communication of science - he is currently the Chairman of the Programme Committee of ESOF. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Leopoldina and a Fellow of several colleges and faculties.
Dr Jack Barrett received his PhD in Physical chemistry from Manchester. He did research into spectroscopy and photochemical kinetics and teaching at Chelsea College until it was subsumed by King's College London. After retiring from King's he was regenerated at Imperial College. He is the author of several textbooks about Inorganic Chemistry and the Bacterial Oxidation of Minerals and is especially interested in the science of climate change.