Greenwashing cannot go unchallenged

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I refer to the open letter to the convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee (24 April). Nowhere in that letter is there expressed any understanding whatsoever of the “spiritual” and psychological value of a Scottish landscape free from the blight of the commercial wind farm.

The most revealing phrase is the expressed desire of this group to pursue a course of action the main purpose of which is “to power our economies and lifestyles”.

I am not surprised at this letter being signed by representatives of the corporate sector but am astonished at the support given to this totally materialist and growth-based ideology by Friends of the Earth, WWF and RSPB. Do not even they appreciate climate change is a direct consequence of a cultural determination that nothing must get in the way of anything that threatens our grossly unsustainable Western lifestyles?

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive

Uddingston, Lanarkshire

Far from giving further support to the renewables industry, the state should protect the Scottish people from it.

While a certain privileged few make pots of money, the subsidies which provide this cause hardship and disadvantage to individuals and industry alike.

From among the host of social and economical miracles apparently waiting to flow from our largesse I would select the hardy annual of “Scotland playing a lead role in UK and European efforts to tackle climate change”.

Along with the claim that renewable output is even now “significantly reducing our carbon emissions”, this gives the impression of Scots producing a considerable atmospheric clean-up at global level.

That might also account for the oddity of Oxfam being a signatory to the open letter you published, but even it surely realises that even total abolition of Scottish “greenhouse” emissions would have no effect whatever on Scotland’s own environmental atmosphere, let alone that of Europe or the world.

It makes obvious sense to balance our energy production from various sources, but such sense is completely absent from the unnecessary rush to convert to renewables at such cost to consumers.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road

Tranent, East Lothian

The open letter to Murdo Fraser from a group of the usual suspects (plus a few who should know better) cannot go unchallenged. Any sector which needs long-term public support is by definition unsustainable and a drag on the economy rather than something to encourage.

The “hundreds of millions of pounds” invested in Scotland each year are only made possible by higher taxes and electricity bills. Those who benefit are foreign manufacturers of wind turbines and the landowners who are prepared to exchange the goodwill of their neighbours and compromise the tourist industry for a large annual income, paid for by consumers.

The “highly paid and skilled jobs” are those in the manufacturers, nearly all overseas; Scotland would see a temporary boost in construction and installation work, while higher energy costs would cause a loss in current employment. An “internationally recognised hub of expertise in research, design and innovation” would certainly not be for the foreign-owned wind energy sector, and wave and tidal power is so far from commercialisation that the existence of small research groups in the area would hardly be of economic importance for the foreseeable future.

As experience in Denmark, Germany and Ireland has shown, the net effect on carbon dioxide emissions is much lower than claimed and pollution (to which carbon dioxide does not contribute) is already tightly controlled.

Since gas-fired power stations – whether in Scotland or south of the Border – will be needed to provide electricity on the frequent occasions when wind farms cannot, the suggestion that more use of renewable energy would improve security and offset gas price volatility is simply pie in the sky.

I trust Murdo Fraser will ignore the siren call of the renewable energy lobby and do his best to dissuade the present government from the irrational and damaging course which it has set.

Martin Livermore

Scientific Alliance

Cowley Road

Cambridge

The predictable letter from the main feeders at the renewable energy trough tells us rather more about their motives than it does about their industry. Despite the fact that it was timed to coincide with Donald Trump’s visit, fantasy cannot overcome fact. Renewable energy systems cannot replace or materially augment conventional generation because of three basic and insurmountable problems.

First, they are all intermittent and in the case of wind, chaotic as well; second, they all depend on weak, dispersed sources of power using very expensive, complex machinery; and third, there is no viable technology to store significant amounts of power, despite many years of research.

Given that politicians are not prone to committing electoral suicide, it would appear that our civil servants have been taken in by some very skilful lobbying.

To preserve their careers, they are no doubt now telling Scottish Government ministers to “keep calm and carry on”.

Robert Durward

Biggar

East Lothian