THE vote in the Scottish Parliament on fracking has impacts far beyond that of granting licences to drill for shale gas. The statement by Mr Salmond that “the dream will never die” will be transformed into a vision that fades with every sweep of wind turbine blades if Mr Wheelhouse endorses the ban on providing Ineos with licences to frack in Scotland.
The explanation lies in the fact that 92 per cent of our renewable electricity subsidies are currently paid by English and Welsh consumers but, as stated by Brian Wilson, had there been a Yes vote then these arrangements would be illegal under European Regulations. That would have resulted in Scottish consumers having to meet the bill for the generation of 100 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 as stated in the Salmond/Sturgeon manifesto for the 2011 election whilst English consumers are faced with a 30 per cent ceiling on renewable sources.
The result would mean Scots paying renewable costs of up to £150 per MWhour whilst in England, where the bulk of the electricity is generated by gas turbines, consumers would pay £30 per MWhour. The five-fold increase in cost to Scottish consumers would decimate household budgets, cripple our export business and hit the economic case for a second referendum.
In addition, high pressure conditions over the winter would result in minimal output from renewables and with the demise of Cockenzie and Longannet a 50 per cent shortfall in meeting maximum demand in Scotland. Your newspaper stated that in a warm autumn evening of 2015, the strike price offered by the UK grid was £2500 per MWhour so an estimate of £10,000 per MWhour for the foreign grid in England to maintain the lights in Scotland would appear a reasonable estimate. Over 1000 hours in the winter months would result in a bill of £30 billion which would damage the Scottish economy.
The solution for the Energy Minister is to provide fracking licences and pay Scottish Power to modify Longannet to operate on shale gas. The low-cost electricity would provide a financial advantage to business ventures in Scotland.
Queen Street, Castle Douglas
When in 2001 Holyrood’s first scientific adviser Wilson Sibbett said fracking had “changed everything” he envisaged Fife shale gas being pumped under the Forth into Grangemouth.
These prescient words were heard by Jim Radcliffe, founder of the giant chemical company Ineos, who expanded his Grangemouth operations expecting the advice to be taken on board.
Sadly the last 15 years has seen Holyrood oppose the GM crops and fracking which Sibbett wanted expanded and bet the house on “wind” which he had strongly opposed.
The result of this Luddite intransigence is that Radcliffe has moved his fracking operations to England and the remaining Grangemouth jobs will inevitably be relocated oversees.
Dr John Cameron
Howard Place, St Andrews