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Reliance on fossil fuels here to stay

Further to your recent letters and articles on wind power, let me add a few more thoughts.

The system that we use at the moment, fossil fuel, may not be the best from an energy-efficiency point of view. Wind power does not, nor ever will, improve this fact.

The premise is that when the wind does not blow we can revert back to the fossil option. Therein lies the problem. The existing system cannot, like a car, be started and stopped at will, but can take days, or in the larger installations, weeks to bring back on line. This is due to the mechanics of heating and balancing the huge machinery involved in the process.

The answer is that the existing system must always be kept running to at least 50pc of its ability so as to allow the system to react and to compensate for the loss of wind-power input.

The best that can be said for wind power is that the glass will be half full as we will use only 50pc of the fossil fuels while the wind blows, but we will always be reliant on it.

Even with the nuclear option, the fossil option will need to be retained in readiness for breakdowns.

Ray Dunne
Enfield, Co Meath

Irish Independent