'Net zero' clearly elusive

The governments of many Western countries have committed, in one form or another, to achieve the goal of “net zero” carbon emissions and the electricity generation sector is clearly the easiest part of an economy to get to net zero.

It is truly astounding to me how many seemingly sophisticated governments have made the net zero electricity commitment without there existing anywhere in the world a demonstration project showing how that can be done and at what cost.

The few places that have made attempts at full wind/solar/storage systems have fallen woefully short, and at this point are not even trying to bridge the remaining gap to get to net zero an example of this is the island of El Hierro

The island of El Hierro (part of the Canary Islands), with a population about 10,000, tried using pumped storage hydro power plus wind turbines. The wind turbines had a capacity for double the average demand and the same for the hydro power. Booth of these systems had backup diesel generators again for more than double the average power demand. However, averaged over the whole year, they struggled to get 50% of their power from wind and hydro storage. Bear in mind there is very little industry on the island.

The operator of the wind turbine system, Gorona del Viento, has a website where it brags the island had 1,293 hours in 2020 when it got all of its electricity from wind and storage, remembering that in 2020 there were more than 8,700 hours. That is approx 15%. While a failure, it at least had a backup plan by installing the diesel generators.

The U.K. and Germany are classic examples of where the almost total reliance on "green energy,” with no back-up plan, has virtually brought the U.K. government's to their knees with, for example, it seeing a 260% increase in the price of gas and a possible US$50 billion bill for electricity in 2023. Now it is frantically talking about fracking.

Germany has delayed closing its last atomic power station while many residents there are returning to burning coal and wood to survive the winter. Nobody thought to make a back-up plan for the non-fossil fuel power generation,.

Let’s hope those in Ottawa learn from these mistakes, but I seriously doubt that will happen. So start getting your wood supply in before it is too late.

Colin Harlingten

More Letters to the editor



The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the author. Castanet does not in any way warrant the information presented.

Visit our discussion forum
for these and other issues.

Previous Stories