Lost in the midst of the near-catastrophe of the Grangemouth dispute are the facts about energy in Scotland. I recently met a couple from West Virginia who stand to gain up to £300,000 per annum over the next five years by allowing fracking on their land. It is easy to see how low-income households all over the USA see the benefits of this new energy resource giving them prosperity and energy self-sufficiency for the immediate future, despite recent protests.
In Scotland, home of the shale oil industry from the time of Paraffin Young, there seems to be a reluctance to exploit our natural resources in the same way. Rather than processing ethane from our own fracking at Grangemouth, it will be brought in from the US to ensure the plant’s future. Why do we not exploit our own resources?
Drilling is about to start in north-west England to exploit geothermal energy, which is about three kilometres beneath our feet and about as clean a form of energy as you can get. We have all the technological resources here to exploit it, along with the knowledge of drilling from the oil industry and yet the SNP can only think about covering our landscape with wind turbines.
More voices are raised against the march of foreign-built wind turbines. Government ministers are expressing reservations about them and are looking at exploiting other energy sources.
In light of the reliance of Scotland’s energy industry on Grangemouth, surely it is time we had people running things north of the Border with some of the vision which the government is showing and of which the Holyrood administration displays none.
Andrew HN Gray