Letter: Energy shortfall

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AS SOMEONE involved in renewable energy for more than 35 years, I am deeply concerned that neither Alex Salmond nor the "experts" quoted in your report (16 April) appear to understand the laws of physics.

How much renewable energy Scotland can produce by 2020 has very little to do with political will and everything to do with engineering reality. No matter how large the installed capacity of "intermittent" renewable energy devices, this does not mean we can produce the amount of electricity we need at any given time; your article is silent on the "back-up" generation that will be required to meet the demand.

A report to be published soon by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on Scotland's energy policy will demonstrate the original target of 50 per cent of electricity from renewable resources by 2020 will be exceedingly difficult to meet with current strategy. Increasing that target to 80 or 100 per cent by 2020 has to be seen as political posturing.

IAN M ARBON

Pinmore

Girvan, Ayrshire

BRIAN Monteith (Perspective, 18 April) claims Alex Salmond suggests "Scotland will be powered 100 per cent by renewables by 2020", a manifesto pledge that he goes on to denounce as potentially catastrophic, even making the rather alarmist claim that "to rely solely on (renewables] must mean the deaths of many pensioners in Scotland". The actual intention is that renewable sources will produce the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's annual electricity consumption by 2020. The aim would be to produce quantities of electricity well in excess of 100 per cent of Scotland's own domestic needs (using renewables in combination with other sources) and to export the substantial surplus.

C HEGARTY

Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

COMMON sense dictates one question must be asked: Can the system produce electricity when it is required? Not one of the crackpot methods can do so. From what I can see, the only ones to come up to that standard are coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Any one of them is likely to save the life of this OAP in a cold winter. Save the planet? OAPs are more important.

ROBERT PATE

Minnigaff

Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire