Your advisors must surely have pointed out that in terms of energy security, Scotland's contribution (as an energy rich
country) is actually rather modest. Without Longannet it will consist primarily of Torness and Hunterston (together 2.6GW), Peterhead (currently restricted to 0.5GW) and about 1.5GW of hydro.
These would not cover Scotland's peak demand
of more than 5GW in the absence of sufficient wind generation. DECC have in the past credited wind with 7% of installed capacity in security assessment. However actual experience has shown this to be an overly optimistic figure. UK wind output reached a minimum
of 0.095GW on 1st August, a load factor of 0.7%. The recent wind lull which was a significant contributor to National Grid's problems reached a low point of 0.32GW, 2.4% load factor.
A safe assumption as to the guaranteed contribution
of wind generation might thus be based on a load factor of around 1%. Scotland's 5.5GW of operational wind could then be counted on to produce no more than a trivial 0.055GW. Scotland's wind generation can in no way 'alleviate the situation' which is most
likely to occur at times of persistent high pressure, and thus low wind, at some of the coldest times of year. Building all consented wind, together with that in the planning system, would treble this capacity, do horrendous damage to Scotland's landscape
and rural amenity, and still provide only 0.165GW.
Nor, as I hope you have also been advised, is there much to be expected of new pumped storage. There is limited opportunity for this, certainly nothing like the amount needed for a single
day's storage, let alone several near windless days as occurred last week. Pumped storage construction would also have a much greater lead time than a new gas fired power station.
The only policy change which can remedy this situation
is one which removes the disincentives to the construction of new dispatchable capacity. Colin Gibson, previously National Grid's power network director, has estimated the levelised cost of new gas generation to have a median value of £68/MWh,
significantly above current wholesale prices. No company responsible to its shareholders can justify such an investment when they can instead put up wind turbines which can undercut other forms of generation due to subsidies comparable to the wholesale price.
It is thus unsurprising that Iberdrola have not proceeded with a gas fired power station to replace Cockenzie.