An ill wind

Last year Johannes Teyssen, head of energy giant E.On, said that onshore wind electricity generation was no longer in its infancy and the continuation of the subsidy regime was no longer justified. He claimed that the beneficiaries “just wanted to harvest subsidies without accountability”.

“Accountability” is the key word, with so many challenges and questions going unanswered, resulting in a total lack of transparency.

It is time that the media and politicians begin to take seriously the demands of those such as Stuart Brooks of the John Muir Trust, who has been calling for the establishment of “a National Energy Commission with independent expertise (which) could advise the government on how to make the transition to an energy mix which has least cost to the public and the environment”.

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Vested corporate interests, the subsidy farmers represented by Scottish Renewables’ Joss Blamire, have for too long been allowed to make the running in what is a complex debate.

An important contribution to this debate is Brian Wilson’s article (Perspective, 20 June) in which he reminds us that it was assumed that “as technologies matured, the need for subsidy would decline”, the intention never being “to create entitlement to a permanent subsidy regime”.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive


Your leader (19 June) supporting the continuation of subsidies to the wind industry accepts implicitly or explicitly several assumptions which I and others have questioned in your pages. It contains one particularly fundamental and significant misunderstanding.

It is indeed entirely reasonable, as you state, to use subsidies to develop new technologies.

However, those paid to onshore wind operators are not being used for this purpose, but simply to deploy one which is already mature and well understood.

The erection of another 100 wind turbines in and around the Lammermuirs will add nothing to our ability to understand or develop energy technology.

The £750 million these would cost the consumer in subsidies will go to the operators and to a few large landowners. This is money which could indeed have been better spent on investigating and developing innovative future energy sources.

(Prof)Jack Ponton FREng

Scientific Alliance 

North St David Street


Your letters page (20 June) was full of opinions about wind powering our energy needs.

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Sailors, in the days of sail, knew if they were becalmed they were not going anywhere.

“Ill blows the wind that profits nobody”, said the poet, so he would be pleased to hear that some nowadays do profit by it.

The windbag is essential to an organ. The air in the chamber of the Scottish bagpipes is essential for the next phase.

The ins and outs of the arguments for wind turbines are beyond my ken, but I can foretell the future when they are no longer “fit for purpose”.

“Decommissioning” is a lovely long word. The propellers could be removed reasonably painlessly, but who is going to remove the stalks from the land and the sea bed?

The companies, the promoters and the politicians will all be long gone, and so will the money.

While much-debated hot air will fill the vacuum, it will be left for future generations to inherit yet another problem.

Ronald Rankin

Coates House