Letter: Chill wind fuels heated energy debate

Your claims (27 December) that Scotland has had to rely on energy imported from France during the recent cold snap are wrong.

The reality is that Scotland is a net exporter of electricity, a position which will only be strengthened when new wind and other renewables projects come on stream.

New figures show that last year, for the first year ever, Scotland produced more than a quarter - 27.4 per cent - of our entire electricity needs from green energy, meaning we are well on track to surpass our interim target of 31 per cent of annual electricity consumption from renewables in 2011.

The Scottish electricity system benefits from a range of generating sources, and has for many decades been an exporter of power through the interconnector to England.

In a recent report, published by the Scottish Government, it was shown that Scotland can achieve a balanced electricity mix involving 80 per cent of Scotland's demand from renewable sources, with fossil-based generation adapting to use carbon capture and storage.

In this way Scotland will be able to remain at the forefront of renewable energy, help develop CCS technology and more than continue to export power beyond Scotland.

JIM MATHER

Minister for enterprise, energy and tourism

WITH regard to Jane Bradley's article on the lack of wind power this Christmas, you printed a letter from me after Christmas 2006 in a similar vein. The British Wind Energy Association issued a press release on 21 December that year saying: "The renewables revolution firmly underway means that a record number of homes will be powered by the wind this Christmas: wind turbines in the UK generate sufficient electricity to meet the needs of over a million households - or to boil enough water for two billion cups of tea to wash down the Christmas meal."

That year, as for most years since, there was no wind at Christmas as a high pressure sat over Britain. I don't know how many billion cups of cold tea it would have been this Christmas, but why is no one in government listening and or understanding?

CELIA HOBBS

Peebles Road Penicuik, Midlothian

Your report emphasises the folly of successive Westminster governments in spending huge amounts on promoting and subsidising wind farms. The article describes the well-known problems of the intermittent output from such installations and the resulting poor return on the investment.Given Scotland's enormous potential for wave and tidal power generation, if these were to be given the support lavished on wind power, Scotland could be more than self-sufficient and able to export power for as long as the moon continues to orbit the earth every 28 days.

PETER SWAIN

Tyme Cottage

Innerwick, Dunbar

Why can anyone now consider that renewables are the answer to our power-generation needs when wind power can only operate at 2.5 per cent of it's capacity at times of peak demand? How sure can we be that our neighbours will continue to supply us with the additional energy required during peak demand when they might be struggling to meet their own peak demands also?

How long will this Scottish Government continue to soak in the crazed beliefs of a tiny minority, and subject us to a dangerous policy of reliance on mainly unpredictable energy sources?

It's time for wind power to pay it's own way. Let's remove the huge cash incentives that make power generation companies "invest" in our future, and in turn blight the scenery with inefficient structures.

ARTHUR ROBERTSON

Border Place

Saltcoats

The time has now come (long overdue in my mind) when we have to look more rationally at our future energy supply.

We know how coal/gas-fired plants work and can be improved and we are also well aware of the downside on nuclear power.

These are tried and tested methods of generation albeit with politically unpalatable aspects to them.

Take the politics out of it and we are left with the necessity of making sure we have a secure supply of energy.

These options afford this, but at the expense of our limited natural resources - even applicable to nuclear power.

The whole topic is too important to leave to politicians who are short-sighted and driven by all the wrong reasons. On the same basis one cannot trust anyone who lobbies on behalf of any particular type of generation. But we must get a coherent policy adopted and get away from the lunatic policies currently running.

This new discussion must take place against a backdrop of failure of the global warming lobby to make a coherent case for their cause.

We must move forward on the facts not hearsay and phoney data. Climate change exists and always has, and our world is now colder than it was a few years ago as a result.

IAN ROSS

Eden Lane

Edinburgh

Your report contains no actual facts and figures to support it headline "'Green' Scotland relying on French nuclear power".The text conflates the worrying power-generation situation in UK with the rather more comfortable situation Scotland enjoys and then it proceeds to conflate wind power (which aims to provide no more than about 10 per cent of our power needs) with our renewable energy potential, contributing to undermining Scotland's efforts to become a world leader in the production of renewable energy.

DAVID McEWAN HILL

Dalinlongart

Sandbank, Argyll

Much has been made in the press of the threat to Scotland's energy supply as a result of the focus on wind-power, but there is a far greater threat nearer home.

Homes insulated to Scandinavian standards consume 50 per cent or less of the energy of the average UK dwelling yet we insist on building poorly insulated houses and do little to improve the energy performance of the existing housing stock.

Rather than worrying about how we can continue in our wasteful ways (by generating more power), we might better consider the energy efficiency of our existing homes and demand the introduction of far higher building standards in relation to energy performance.

NIALL CONNOLLY

Mount Hey

Somerton

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