A new report has found Scotland risks multiple days of blackouts, resulting in deaths and civil unrest as a result of the country’s dependence on renewable energies.
A significant gap in Scotland’s electricity system as a result of the closure of coal power stations and the unpredictability of renewables could lead to complete power failure across the country.
The report, published by the Institute of Engineers in Scotland (IESIS), found that the instable power supply could result in “deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.
It also highlights serious power cuts in other countries, which resulted in disturbances to society and warns: “A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”
IESIS is calling for the government to establish a national energy authority to protect the long-term sustainability of the grid and prevent blackouts, against the background of Scotland’s increasing reliance on “intermittent” energy sources.
With all UK coal power stations expected to close by 2025 there is concern over an even wider gap in the country’s electricity supply.
Iain MacLeod, of the IESIS, said: “Intermittent renewable energy sources do not supply the same level of functionality as power stations to meet demand at all times and avoid operational faults. Intermittency issues … relevant to wind and solar energy have not been adequately explored.”
The report also discusses the implications of integrating intermittent renewables to the electricity system, which include rising energy costs for customers.
It says: “The extra generation and storage needed to safeguard security of supply, the facilities required to ensure it is stable, extra transmission facilities, and energy losses over power lines from remote locations will all contribute to rising costs.”
UK households have seen continued hikes to their energy bills as suppliers are faced with growing wholesale costs and the increased use of renewables in its energy mix.