Turbine proposals deserve an airing
I note Struan Stevenson’s piece (Platform, 4 September) regarding the proposals for wind turbines in the Moray Firth.
Perhaps if Mr Stevenson was living through a recession on the coastal fringe of the Moray Firth he might not be quite so dismissive and to suggest that the proposals are “to satisfy the vanity” of the Scottish Government is ridiculous.
Wind turbines are a contentious issue and I don’t have the expertise to comment on their cost-effectiveness, but it does seem clear that we will eventually have to find an alternative to fossil fuels and I’m sure that most forms of energy are subsidised to a greater or lesser extent.
Furthermore, if we have to have turbines I’d prefer to have them sited out to sea as opposed to sprinkled over our hillsides.
As Mr Stevenson will know well, the European common fisheries policy was a disaster for one of northern Scotland’s main industries.
Furthermore, tourism, contrary to what Mr Stevenson suggests, has never really been huge along the majority of the Moray Firth coast – certainly not sufficient to sustain communities in any meaningful way.
Therefore, in my opinion, it would be very unwise to turn away possible investment without thorough investigation.
It IS depressing to see such a rant (in Struan Stevenson’s article) but because a full, sensible response to all of the points raised would run to a very long length, I shall restrain myself to Mr Stevenson’s first point, that of load factor.
He states that the Moray wind farm developer’s claim that it would provide energy for one million homes is wrong as it has not taken into account the load factor of 30 per cent.
Some quick arithmetic shows Mr Stevenson to be plain wrong: 1,300,000 kW of power multiplied by 365 days then by 24 hours, and importantly then by 0.3 (to factor in Mr Stevenson’s load factor) gives an annual production of 3,416,400,000 kWh of electricity. With an average household electricity use of 3,300 kWh (Ofgem’s 2011 figure), this works out to just over one million homes, just as claimed by the developer.
I don’t mind a good debate, but a good first step is to get your basic maths right.
The gulf between Westminster and Holyrood grows ever wider and the reshuffle of climate change sceptic Owen Paterson to the environment brief (your report, 5 September) should not be underestimated.
The issue of climate change is controlled by a different department, but the overlap between the two ministries means his trenchant views will impact on policy.
In comparison with Alex Salmond and his dash for wind, Peterson is a harsh critic of the turbine pestilence and the transmission clutter needed to connect them to the grid.
He rightly denigrates wind energy as a “massive waste of consumers’ money” and calls for an end to all subsidies in the drive to produce a rational energy policy.
The chances of Scotland, whether independent or not, being able to offload its costly wind energy on the “greenest ever” UK government start to look vanishingly small.
(Dr) John Cameron
Nicholas Gubbins of Community Energy Scotland is to be commended for explaining at length (Letters, 4 September) all the different types of community-splitting bribes being encouraged by government as a means of persuading local groups to accept wind turbines on their doorsteps.
However, the justifications he uses are somewhat contentious, such as providing “sustainable and secure income for a generation” to build community infrastructure and a “new stream of income to regenerate the local community” where depopulation is an issue.
Surely, when the government embarked on this mad dash to cover the countryside with wind turbines, its aim was not driven by such social engineering objectives where electricity consumers in general are “taxed” to help solve some rural issues, nor to pay for local infrastructure facilities, which are more appropriately the responsibility of councils and central government – as evidenced by some councils already cutting their financial allocations to communities where such bribes have been paid.
The consequence of such community payments is that in addition to consumers lining the pockets of landowners and foreign developers through ever-increasing electricity bills, they will be contributing to yet another trough for their money.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east