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  • Renewable Energy Sources

    Watt Committee Report Number 22

    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • This report has been compiled by the Working Group on Renewable Energy Sources The members of the Working Group were:

    Professor M.A.Laughton, Queen Mary and Westfield College, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Chairman)

    A.C.Baker, Binnie & Partners, Redhill J.H.Boddy, Consultant, Woking A.T.Chenhall, Scottish Hydro, Pitlochry R.Clare, Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons Ltd, London D.A.Gray, Consultant, Harrow Dr M.J.Grubb, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London R.S.Hackett, Chairman, Rational Use of Energy Working Group, Watford Professor D.O.Hall, Kings College, University of London, Department of Biology D.E.Lennard, D.E.Lennard & Associates, Orpington Dr C.W.Lewis, University of Strathclyde, Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology Dr D.Lindley, Taylor Woodrow Construction, Greenford Dr D.L.Lidgate, Thames Polytechnic, School of Engineering Dr G.Long, Harwell Laboratories, Harwell Professor J.C.McVeigh, Glasgow College H.J.Moorhead, Severn Tidal Power Group, Sidcup Dr P.L.Surman, National Power plc, London Professor D.T.Swift-Hook, Consultant, Woking J.F.Walker, National Power Division, Southampton S.H.Webster, Coopers & Lybrand Associates, London P.R.Wyman, GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley

    Members of The Watt Committee on Energy Working Group on Renewable Energy Sources

    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • Renewable Energy Sources

    Edited by

    MICHAEL A.LAUGHTON Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Queen Mary and Westfield College,

    University of London Chairman of the Working Group on Renewable Energy Sources appointed by the Watt

    Committee on Energy

    Report Number 22

    Published on behalf of THE WATT COMMITTEE ON ENERGY



    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHERS LTD Crown House, Linton Road, Barking, Essex 1G11 8JU, England

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003.

    Sole Distributor in the USA and Canada

    ELSEVIER SCIENCE PUBLISHING CO., INC 655 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10010, USA



    Savoy Hill House, Savoy Hill, London WC2R OBU

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Renewable energy sources. (Report; no.22)

    1. Renewable energy sources I. Laughton, M.A. II. Watt Committee on Energy III. Series 333.794

    ISBN 0-203-21581-8 Master e-book ISBN

    ISBN 0-203-27210-2 (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 1-85166-500-5 (Print Edition)

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Renewable energy sources/edited by M.A.Laughton p. cm.—(Watt Committee report; no.22)

    Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-85166-500-5 I. Renewable energy sources. I. Laughton, M.A. II. Watt

    Committee on Energy. III. Series. TJ808.R45 1990 33.79'4—dc20 90–35846


    The views expressed in this Report are those of the authors of the papers and contributors to the discussion individually and not necessarily those of their institutions or companies or of The Watt Committee on Energy. The Watt Committee on Energy acknowledges with thanks the financial support it has received

    from the Department of Energy and from Scottish Power.

    No responsibility is assumed by the Publisher for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the

    material herein.

    Special regulations for readers in the USA

    This publication has been registered with the Copyright Clearance Centre Inc. (CCC), Salem, Massachusetts. Information can be obtained from the CCC about conditions under which photocopies of parts of this publication may be made in the USA. All other copyright questions, including photocopying outside the USA, should be referred to the


    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of

    the publisher.

    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • Ever since the oil price increases of the 1970s triggered a wide-spread awareness of the problems of over- dependence on imported energy supplies, there has been increased interest in industrialised countries in the possibilities of obtaining power from locally available renewable resources. Today, after considerable R & D effort, renewable resources are now regarded as capable of supplying a significant proportion of energy in the long-term future. In addition, recent years have seen the growth in importance of environmental issues, which in turn are influencing the energy scene.

    The Watt Committee on Energy has always been interested in environmental questions concerning energy. Notable examples were the two Watt Committee Reports entitled Acid Rain (No. 14) and Air Pollution, Acid Rain and the Environment (No. 20), published in 1984 and 1989 respectively. As the latter neared completion, the Watt Committee Executive considered what further studies might be initiated in this area; one of the results was the appointment of the working group that planned the recent Consultative Conference entitled Technological Responses to the Greenhouse Effect’, which will be the subject of a further report, due to to be published soon.

    During these years, there has been a marked increase in the level of public concern with environmental issues. One of its effects has been a growing awareness of the contribution that might be made by greater exploitation of renewable energy sources—frequently described as alternative energy sources, or ‘the renewables’. Conventional large-scale power generation has been widely thought objectionable because it is polluting, causes damage to life and to valued buildings, emits radiation or generates more heavy goods traffic. Whether or not all these objections are valid, there is no doubt that many of the renewables

    are comparatively free of them. Thus there is justice in the linkage, vague though it is, that public opinion tends to see between the renewables and environmental improvement, although electrical power generation from renewables is not free from other objections.

    One of the renewables that seems to be almost entirely free of objections is passive solar design of buildings. This was the subject of Watt Committee Report No. 17. In principle, the technique is very ancient, and the methods of applying it today are well known. Its adoption, however, has to overcome the public ignorance of what can be done, the attitudes created by a century or two of cheap energy and the indifference expressed in institutional structures. Much the same is true of electricity generation by small-scale hydro-electric schemes, which was dealt with in Report No. 15. The Watt Committee’s studies of these subjects received financial support from the Department of Energy. It is not only Government action that affects the decisions of energy suppliers and users, however— more important is the effect of informed public opinion.

    The development of public opinion on energy matters is a primary concern of the Watt Committee. As a body representing the professional community, and as a registered charity, it is both authoritative and impartial. This was its standpoint when, in 1986, it appointed the working group on Renewable Energy Sources, whose results are published here.

    This report, like the others, is the result of study by a working group leading to a Consultative Conference. The views expressed at the Conference were taken into account in preparing the final text of the report, and in a rapidly changing scene the group found it necessary to go through several stages of revision, especially with regard to the economic assessment of the renewables. The group has tried to grapple with the concepts that apply to renewables as a whole. Expertise has been


    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • given freely byall members of the group, and an exceptionally heavy burden has been imposed on the Chairman of the group, Professor Michael Laughton. On behalf of the Watt Committee, I am grateful to him and to them all, and in the period of consolidation that must be expected to follow the restructuring of the

    electricity supply industry I hope that their results, published here, will assist the public to assess the actual and potential role of the renewables.

    G.K.C.PARDOE Chairman, The Watt Committee on Energy

    © 2003 Taylor & Francis Books, Inc.

  • Members of The Watt Committee on Energy Working Group on Renewable Energy Sources

    Foreword G.K.C.PARDOE

    PART 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE REPORT 1 Introduction and summary 2 The place of renewable energy as an energy source


    PART 2: TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE 3 Tidal energy 4 Wave energy 5 Wind energy 6 Small scale hydro-electric energy 7 Geothermal energy 8 Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) 9 Solar thermal technologies and photovoltaics

    10 Biofuels

    PART 3: SYSTEM CONSIDERATIONS 11 Environment 12 Integration of renewable energy sources in electrical power systems 13 Economics of renewable energy source