All this posturing and rhetoric from the UK and Scotland’s energy ministers is getting a little tedious.
Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, says that in the case of independence, English bill payers will have to pay Scotland’s wind farm subsidises and buy her expensive wind power to “keep the lights on” south of the Border.
Ed Davey, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, says this is not the case, and that England won’t subsidise Scottish wind but will buy energy from the most cost effective source, as indeed it should.
If Ed is right we will have 8 per cent of the UK energy bill payers in Scotland financing 60 per cent of the UK’s wind farms and that will be very expensive for all of us living in Scotland.
Now here’s another conundrum for us to consider. If England refuses Scottish wind power what will happen to the grid at the Border?
England will have to fit phase-shifting transformers just as Czech operators did to protect their transmission systems from overload and possible blackouts by stopping Germany dumping excess renewable energy onto their grid.
If they don’t, Fergus Ewing may well be right – the lights will go out in England but it will be because of wind power, not in spite of it.
Using terms like “alarmist”, “fashionable creed” and “pedagogic propaganda” adds nothing to the serious debate on climate warming, and the human contribution to this reality (Dr John Cameron, Letters, 11 April).
This semantic manipulation is a well-known strategy for dismissing those whose views elicit discomfort, especially when they present a threat to the way we conduct our lives.
Only the word “luddite” was missing from his list (and it’s an intriguing fact that a word once used to describe those who fought against a real threat to their livelihoods is now used as a term of abuse).
I do, however, agree with Dr McCormick’s statement (Letters, same issue) that we should be preparing for the consequences of climate warming, but I have to disagree with his rather pessimistic view that there’s nothing we can do to mitigate the effects of our own contribution.
I’m not an uncritical advocate of all renewable energy systems, and believe that we should carefully weigh up the relative costs and benefits of each one.
However, this is not the main focus of my argument for continuing our efforts to reduce our impact.
I believe in eliminating proven causes, rather than trying to use a sticking plaster to stop a haemorrhage.
There are myriad ways in which we are contributing to climate warming, and the most detrimental activities involve major business interests.
To take just one example: the destruction of rain forests accounts for roughly a fifth of recent human-produced CO2.
Brazil’s National Institute for Amazon Research has recently announced that deforestation puts four times more carbon into the atmosphere than that produced by the nation’s fossil-fuel burning. This is something we can stop. The biggest obstacles to success are vested interests and complacency.
Douglas Turner (Letters, 11 April) thinks that the UK taxpayer will have to meet the “massive costs” needed to decommission the country’s nuclear power stations.
In fact, the taxpayer will not have to meet any of this (not so massive) cost.
Decommissioning funds accumulate over the lifetime of a station and are eventually used to decommission the station.
Contributions to the funds come from a charge on the electricity sold.
Douglas Turner highlights the costs of decommissioning existing nuclear power stations.
I can’t say he’s wrong, but what are the alternatives for generating reliable electricity for 60 years or so?
Mostly foreign and subsidised wind farms function intermittently and variably, which is not exactly suitable for 24-hour stable power needs.
Fossil fuel plants are rejected because of the greenhouse gases. Scotland’s hydro is mostly developed and full-reservoir dependent.
Solar output is low, as are wind and wave arrays.
Staying with nuclear at the least buys a lot more time to take advantage of advancing power generation technology, even if so many countries with their hundreds of reactors seem to have nodded off.
The comment by Julia Wait (Letters, 10 April) that the Corrimony wind-farm pylons look like matchsticks suggests to me that there is scope for Specsavers in this part of the world.
Ocular perception is clearly a problem. These turbines tower to a height of 9.8metres and overlook the approaches to Glen Affric – possibly the most attractive glen in Scotland.
As a regular visitor to the area since 1965 I am appalled at the possibility of yet another wind farm with even taller structures (124 metres) less than a mile from the conservation village of Tomich.
It is not surprising that locals and visitors alike are supporting a campaign through glenaffricfriendssayno.com.
Ian A Brown
Golf Course Road