An ill wind blows

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The Scotsman article “Developers fund the winds of change” (3 April) highlights the unsustainable and money-grabbing farce that the wind turbine industry has become.

Originally, the Scottish Government embarked on a plan to reduce carbon emissions by generating a proportion of our electricity from renewables. However, this aim morphed into a nightmare situation when politicians set a short term target to generate 100 per cent of our electricity from renewables with unforeseen consequences. The only renewable option readily available to meet this short-term target largely consists of an out-of-control onslaught on our countryside by ever more highly subsidised and unreliable wind turbines – largely onshore in more and more unsuitable locations since offshore turbines are proving too expensive.

In this subsidy rush, the original aim of reducing carbon emissions appears to have been sidelined and replaced by a redistribution of money from electricity consumers not only to developers, landowners and overseas turbine manufacturers, but also increasingly by bribes towards funding community improvements and the subsidising of businesses and farmers etc. Anyone can see that this development is totally unsustainable as the costs escalate rapidly. Not only is this resulting in ever more individuals experiencing fuel poverty but it is severely damaging our economy by making industry less competitive.

This nonsense has to stop before our economy is ruined and the electricity grid collapses with catastrophic consequences.

gm lindsay

Whinfield Gardens

Kinross

Who could disagree with Colin Gibson’s suggestion (your report, 3 April) that we need a standing commission on energy?

Ian Marchant has pointed out that during an 11-year period at SSE he saw 11 different energy ministers. Grid engineers and investors may pull their hair out, but in the end, every single UK consumer pays the price for such fecklessness.

An expert commission could hardly make more of a mess of energy policy than our politicians. Governments on all sides have treated it as a political football, handy for grabbing headlines. Green NGOs have hijacked it with ideology, leaving the market to go where the money is easiest. So we have a largely foreign wind industry too bloated on subsidy to care about R&D in renewables, while our once world-leading nuclear industry has withered away.

Sound engineering science and public economics should determine energy policy, not ideological whimsy and corporate profiteering, so why not go the whole hog? Set up an energy version of the Bank Of England and its Monetary Policy Committee? Owned by government, but genuinely independent of it, with devolved responsibility for managing energy policy. As with monetary policy, the Treasury could have reserve powers to give orders to the committee if they are required in the public interest and by extreme economic circumstances but such orders must be endorsed by Parliament within 28 days. A stable energy system is as important to a country’s security and economic wellbeing as its currency system.

Polticians are notoriously averse to giving up power but energy policy is one hot potato they might be happy to drop.

LINDA HOLT

Pittenweem

Anstruther

Julia Wait’s letter (4 April) saying that wind turbines on relatively distant skylines were no big deal kind of left out turbines’ impact when erected much closer to residential areas and sensitive landscapes.

The amelioration of global climate change, assuming that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gloom has some semblance of truth, is something in which Scotland’s turbines have only a very small role to play. Contributing to the reduction in imported energy which assists in reducing the balance of trade deficits is however of some value, and almost the sole valid reason for having erected so many turbines onshore. But it’s time to stop and review further erections, as the entire Scottish land area seems to be heading towards being impacted – a turbine for every vista surely is not to Julia Wait’s liking either.

JOE DARBY

Dingwall

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