European hydro capacity compared to the demand for electricity

Hydro Capacity in the EU-15 and Norway 22 days the energy storage capacity of hydro across Western Europe, (the EU15 countries plus Norway and Iceland),  expressed in terms of average daily electricity demand 177 TWh the storage capacity, put another way. That’s the same as 0.604 quads, 22MTCe, 15 MTOe, 152Pcal,  637PJ, or 465kWh per person across […]

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Has Professor MacKay FRS, Chief Scientific Advisor to DECC, underestimated Britain's potential for Renewable Energy?

Today, The Times has claimed that Britain’s potential renewable resources are insufficient to meet demand, and therefore that Britain needs new nuclear plants. This is reported as having been stated by the new Chief Scientific Advisor to DECC, Professor David MacKay FRS, the author of the free online book: Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air – though it appears that The Times invented this quote. Nevertheless, the claim that Britain cannot live on its own renewables, is also made in his book.

However, the claim is not true.

On the professor’s own (underestimated) calculation of Britain’s renewable potential, it is possible for Britain to power itself from wind and solar. Current energy demand (heat, transport & electricity), is 98kWh per person per day (245GW), and the professor’s book identifies 68kWh/d (170GW) of wind onshore and offshore, and 55kWh/d (137.5GW) from photovoltaics, which together gives 123kWh/d (307.5GW). That means that even ignoring wave, tidal, geothermal and biomass, Britain’s renewable potential supply just from solar and wind substantially exceeds our energy demand.

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