Solar panel farm Bishops Lydeard geograph.org.uk 2538248There are many myths about wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy, usually told by shadowy figures and organisations such as Lord Lawson's ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’ that are funded by the fossil fuel industry. Such myths have been used by some SMDC councillors to prevent the establishment of wind turbines and solar farms in the Moorlands.

Misinformation like this has exacerbated the Climate Emergency that is now so obvious to all. Most supporters and beneficiaries of the fossil fuel industry do now admit to the reality of climate change but their current policy is to delay reaching net zero carbon as long as possible by proposing false technological solutions and expecting taxpayers to pay for them or to argue that aiming for Net Zero is too expensive. After 30 years of uncontroversial and accumulating scientific evidence, during which time the fossil fuel lobby used all sorts of dirty tricks to mislead the public, why should we be expected to give taxpayers’ money to these people to promote carbon capture & storage and hydrogen schemes that depend on fossil fuels, when renewables and their related technologies would be so much cheaper and also more efficient?

One of the scientific challenges of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, as SMDC promised us two years ago, is not energy production itself but ensuring that supply is matched to demand. That’s why  storage capacity is necessary - to store electricity generated at times of peak output and make it available for use at times when it’s needed but the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining, in other words, balancing the grid.

The drive for better storage comes from the need for motive power to transport people and goods.  This has brought down the price of lithium battery storage so much, it is now economic to attach battery storage to large solar farms, such as those proposed for the Moorlands. It also makes them cost-effective, as energy can then be sold at a higher price when demand is high, although the primary purpose of battery storage is to balance the grid.

England is particularly fortunate to have globally significant reserves of  lithium in Cornwall, with strong potential for extracting it economically as a

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Energy can of course be stored in many ways.  Since the 1980s, there has been a large-scale pumped storage station at Dinorwig in Wales, with a hydro scheme operating to balance the grid. Another approach, planned for Cheshire, is to use an old salt producing area to store pressurised air underground. Perhaps in the distant future we will have a storage facility in the old salt area around Salt in Staffordshire.

Photo credit:  Solar-panel farm, Bishops Lydeard by Roger Cornfoot, Solar-panel farm, Bishops Lydeard - geograph.org.uk - 2538248, Cropped image, CC BY-SA 2.0