Once again we have someone from the trade association Scottish Renewables desperately trying to talk up the contribution its members are making to the Scottish economy (your report, 24 January). And once again some key pieces of information are missing.
First, the vast majority of the jobs in on and offshore wind are not long-term. They are associated with developing and constructing wind farms. This process will have a natural end, despite the current government behaving as if Scotland has an infinite capacity for hosting industrial turbines.
Second, many of these jobs – whether they are in development, operations or maintenance – do not use Scottish labour but bring in foreign workers instead.
Third, how many people do you see working on wind farms? There may be someone to pick up the dead birds and a security guard or two. Operational wind farms are automated.
Fourth, economists have calculated that for each job in the wind industry, between two and four jobs are lost elsewhere in the economy.
Fifth, these jobs are not sustainable, because the wind industry depends on a high level of subsidy. Every day there are headlines about rocketing electricity prices and growing fuel poverty.
Only this week, the EU pulled back from imposing binding wind energy targets because it recognised that the high price of wind energy is causing “de-industrialisation” as industry moves to the US and elsewhere with lower energy costs than Europe. The heyday of limitless subsidies for planet-saving turbines is past, and the only way subsidies will go is down.
Sixth and last, a few thousand jobs are a trivial return for the £1.2 billion consumers pay in subsidy. Each job in the wind industry has been calculated to cost UK consumers more than £150,000.
Compare other industries. More than 150,000 people work in the Scottish oil and gas industry; whisky supports 35,000 jobs; tourism 200,000. All these sectors also bring millions of pounds into the Scottish economy without a penny of subsidy.
There is, in my view, an interesting correlation between your story of 24 January (“Anger as energy giant set for £1.5bn profit”) and the Scottish Renewables advert in the name of Joss Blamire (“Upbeat renewables sector generating job opportunities”).
I have little doubt that your readers will recognise a vested interest when they see one and will ask how much each new job is costing, hoping for an answer from an objective source rather than an industry group whose combined shareholders are pocketing large dividends sourced from a grossly regressive renewables subsidy regime.
David Morris (Letters, 23 January) repeats the oft-heard mantra that we will shortly be running out of fossil fuels, something used misleadingly by both governments to justify expensive and unreliable renewables, when the contrary is, in fact, the case: we are knee-deep in them.
And, according to the Environmental Information Administration of the US government, which keeps accurate world records, there are sufficient known resources of oil, gas and coal to last several centuries.
There is enough uranium in the oceans to power mankind for hundreds of thousands of years.
(Prof) TONY TREWAVAS RS, FRSE
Scientific Alliance Scotland
North St David Street