Letter: Only renewables offer energy security

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A NUMBER of points in the letter from Scottish engineers and scientists (Letters, 27 April) merit clarification.

First of all, the proposed target is for Scotland's renewable energy sector to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of annual electricity demand, not 100 per cent of electricity output.

This does not mean the abandonment of other forms of energy generation, but rather a firm commitment to have renewables as a substantial part of an energy mix, which would not just meet Scotland's needs but allow us to export clean power to other parts of the UK, creating wealth and jobs in Scotland.

The false assertion about marine energy needs to be clarified.. Scotland has around 25 per cent of Europe's tidal stream and 10 per cent of its wave power, creating a combined 33 gigawatts potential of practical marine energy in Scottish Waters. Existing plans for 1.6GW installed capacity by 2020 would mean our marine renewables sector providing more than 10 per cent of Scotland's electricity needs.

Although the SNP's pledge to increase the target of Scotland's consumption from renewables from 80 to 100 per cent is ambitious, it can be achieved with the necessary level of support and commitment from government. To succeed will require the right market framework, investment in grid connections and skills, and the correct balance in the planning system between development and conservation.

Niall Stuart

Chief Executive

Scottish Renewables

Glasgow

RECENT letters against wind-farms highlight the "unstoppable march of developers" across Scotland and the "destruction of the countryside".

The writers demonstrate little understanding of the planning system and our need to move towards a low carbon future.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with climate change what is just as important is energy security and the delivery of sustainable development - "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs".

Change requires government intervention and the implementation of a policy framework for investment in renewable energy projects. Yes, private developers are now at the forefront of delivering renewable energy projects in this country and they require certainty that they will see a return on investment. This is the only way renewable energy targets will be met.

David Morris

Newington Road

Edinburgh

I NOTED the letter from some very distinguished gentlemen anent renewable energy; they claim all renewables are intermittent. They are wrong.

I am a master mariner and have sailed Scottish waters for many years. I can assure everyone the tides never stop, slack water at Aberdeen does not mean slack water at Dundee and so on round our coasts.

If we consider wave power, then this is a little intermittent, far less so than is wind.

Weather round the coast is very local and a calm day in Tiree does not mean a calm days at Ullapool. Even when the wind does not blow, the swell can still run quite high.

I would suggest that looking at the production and storage of hydrogen using the power created by our wind turbines when the wind is blowing would merit serious investigation and could well provide the energy needed for any back-up that might be needed.

I understand that Scotland is an appreciable exporter of electricity to our southern neighbours, this implies that we currently have an appreciable surplus of electrical capacity.

Captain R Mill Irving

Station Road, Gifford

East Lothian

A GROUP of engineers tell us we should listen to them and put our faith in nuclear power plants(Letters, 27 April). Am I missing something? Was it not engineering failures that played a major part in the Fukishima disaster?

Was it not engineering problems that caused Chernobyl, which has been recently associated with over a million deaths already?

And it is strange the letter refers to only Scotland's experience over half a century of nuclear energy use, because it was just over half a century ago that Scotland also experienced radiation contamination from the Windscale nuclear plant. The Cumbrian incident, caused by an engineering problem, was regarded as the worst nuclear accident to date, until engineering problems caused Three Mile Island.

Nuclear energy has left the UK with the biggest stockpile of plutonium in the world, and plutonium is among the most deadly substances known to man.

The plant at the renamed Sellafield that was supposed to be turning plutonium into fuel has been a disaster costing more than 1.3 billion, and described by the UK government as "one of the most embarrassing failures in British industrial history".

Only vested interests could declare nuclear cheap and reliable. How cheap is a child's life?

Caroline McManus

Newmills Road

Balerno Edinburgh