Energetic debate is needed over the real cost of Scotland’s electricity supply

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Scott Macnab wrote an excellent article (Struggling to keep Scots’ lights on, August 3) on the struggle to keep the lights on in an independent Scotland.

Here is a resume of the financial costs of this struggle which were not included by George Kerevan in his paper on the economic problems arising from such a vote.

The demise of the UK grid means Scottish consumers, who currently only pay 8 per cent of the renewable subsidies, will no longer be supported by the English and Welsh (see article by Mr Macnab) hence will have to underwrite the annual £4 billion green levy fund, the £7bn of constraint payments and the £9bn cost of importing electricity over the winter (mentioned by Mr Macnab) at £5,000 a MWhour gives rise to a yearly bill of over £20bn or an increase of £8000 per Scottish tax-payer.

Add on the £15bn identified by Mr Kerevan plus £5bn for EU payments, loss of the Swinney rebate and additional ancillary costs means a further tax increase of £8,000 giving a grand total tax hike of £16,000 a year.

The average Scottish worker on a current take-home pay of £19,000 after deductions would then be left with only £3,000 a year.

It would appear Scots will struggle with more than just keeping the lights on under these conditions.

Tax-payers should note that Mr Kerevan aims to match the promise made by George Osborne to balance the books in one term yet it seems that Westminster will now need at least three terms to meet that vow!

Ian Moir

Queen Street, Castle Douglas

Reading Scott Macnab on concerns over where Scotland’s future energy requirements will come from, it is tempting to conclude that it would be best if long-term decisions about power supplies were taken out of the hands of party politicians.

With the SNP’s attitudes to various potential sources of power so clearly driven by political dogma rather than the long-term needs of Scotland, we are in grave danger of being overly reliant on inadequate wind power, having turned our backs on the politically, rather than scientifically, incorrect nuclear and fracking options.

Is it not time to get some respected and genuinely independent energy industry experts to look at how big the looming gaps really are and to come up with urgent recommendations for how to fill them?

Otherwise the danger is that by the time we have a change of government and once more honestly assess our needs, it will be too late to be able to respond quickly enough to avoid an energy crisis.

Keith Howell

West Linton, Peeblesshire

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