Turbines’ setback

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Lady Clark of Calton’s landmark ruling, casting doubt on the legality of the current wind-farm development process, is a welcome setback for Alex Salmond’s ambitions to blanket Scotland with bleak, industrial wind factories (your report, 3 October).

Her decision justifies the view of many activists that the planning process for wind farms skirts the edges of legal propriety. By calling for an electricity-generating licence from Ofgem before developments are approved, as well as a better awareness of the risks turbines pose to birdlife, the courts seems finally to be getting a better handle on the legal ambiguities around wind energy development.

For too long, turbine tyrants have run roughshod over this country. Though the Scottish Government has indicated it will appeal Lady Clark’s decision, it is my hope that this ruling provides the impetus to rein in the unbridled growth in wind farms we have seen in recent years.

STRUAN STEVENSON MEP

European Parliament

Brussels

Scottish Renewables’ lobbyist and propagandist Niall ­Stuart’s article on renewable energy (“Renewable energy can deliver the goods”, 3 October) contains the usual hype and misinformation we have come to expect.

Some glaring misrepresentations need to be pointed out.

The 10Mte (megatonne) of carbon dioxide notionally displaced by renewables in Scotland cannot represent “99 per cent of emissions from every car etc journey”. This amount is about 2 per cent of total UK emissions of which about one quarter are due to transport. The actual figure is thus less than 10 per cent.

Renewables do not account for “40 per cent of the total demand for power” but only of the demand for electricity in Scotland only. This is a very misleading statement as electricity is a minor part of total energy demand. For example, according to Ofgem, in 2011 median domestic energy use was 20 per cent from electricity and nearly 80 per cent from gas.

It is nonsense to say that “we” are “undisputed champions” of wave and tidal energy when there is no commercial scale tidal installation in the UK. 

France has had one since 1966, South Korea opened a 250MW scheme in 2011 and has plans for up 2.4GW. David JC MacKay’s excellent online book shows by simple calculations that wave power is a total non-starter by any sensible assessment.

The debate on renewables – by which I mean onshore wind as this is the only technology which will actually deliver in the immediate future – is now very clearly polarised between those who profit, either economically or politically, from it and those who suffer loss of amenity and life savings.  Greed and ambition will keep the former pushing for more turbines anywhere.

(PROF) Jack W Ponton

Scientific Alliance Scotland

North St David Street

Edinburgh

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