The Scientific Alliance Scotland disputes claims by renewable energy lobby group Scottish Renewables that 15% of Scotland’s total carbon emissions have been displaced by renewable energy projects.
Scottish Renewables has claimed that each megawatthour (MWh) of wind generation entirely replaces the same amount of conventional generation and so reduces carbon dioxide emissions accordingly. The claims ignore the fact that with a larger proportion of wind capacity, gas fired power stations run less efficiently, using relatively more fuel and thus increasing both cost and emissions.
Furthermore, when wind power output increases, it is likely to be the more flexible low emission gas generation which is turned down rather than coal fired stations which emit more than twice as much CO2 per MWh. The Scientific Alliance Scotland is now calling for an independent study to be carried out to determine what proportion of wind power corresponding to the Scottish Government’s `100% of Scottish electricity' would be reflected in real CO2 savings by the UK grid. From work elsewhere it is clear that simple one-for-one replacement of fossil generation will not occur. In any case, around half of Scottish Renewables’ claim of 15% displacement derives from facilities (hydro) which were constructed between 1922 and 1965 and are not attributable to recent developments.
Scientific Alliance Scotland Chairman Professor Tony Trewavas said: “Scottish Renewables is not an independent commentator; it is a lobbying body and trade association for the wind power industry. Assessment of CO2 savings should be carried out by an independent body, not one which is financially and politically involved.”