Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Unsolved problem

I noted with interest that someone outwith Shetland has read and approved of my comments on heat being wasted at Gremista (Waste heat; SN 30/12/14).

I realise now that I should have pushed one aspect of my thinking on that matter a little harder in my original letter (Waste of energy; SN 3/11/14), which is that, if sufficient load could be taken off the Gremista power station by that means, it might just be possible to do a piecemeal but smooth and effective (and efficient) rebuild of the power station as it stands, one rotor set at a time.

It might even be possible to install high-efficiency modern diesels in place of the ones which, looking at their exhaust emissions during the still-air conditions down in Lerwick two days ago, are now well overdue for a good long rest.

Surely that would be a better proposition than building a completely new facility out at Greenhead?

Apart from anything else, it would remove the need for the Gremista power station to be decommissioned and demolished once the new rig has taken over, which (I would imagine) would save tens of millions of pounds in dismantling and materials-disposal costs.

The only other electricity-generation alternative for Shetland that I can see at the moment would be to build new a gas-fired generating plant, fuelled by product tapped-off from the Laggan-Tormore gas field – but that solution probably wouldn’t address the need for cogeneration being an essential part of the new power station.

Since this thread is all about not wasting valuable heat, that would be an unacceptable solution.

What does anyone from Shetland – or SSE – think about this? So far, and since my previous letter on the matter, there’s been a deafening silence on this important subject.

If anyone is under the impression that electricity generation is a solved problem, a ‘done deal’ as the Americans might say, it’s not.

It won’t be a solved problem until the last nuclear fuel rod has been reprocessed, the last cloud of toxic emissions (and an accompanying plume of wasted heat) has been shut down, and the last thunderhead of steam (which is also wasted heat, and by inference wasted money) has ceased to be emitted from the last cooling tower.

I think that it’s time the engineers in this country took their jackets off, rolled up their sleeves, dug out their drawing-boards, and got seriously busy on solving this major problem.

We can’t afford to go on importing oil (or any other fuel, for that matter), simply to carry on wasting it this way.

Philip Andrews

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021