Anti-wind lobby’s myths ill-conceived

It is disappointing to see arguments on wind energy from Scientific Alliance Scotland so poorly rooted in fact (Friends of The Scotsman, 16 October).

Professor Tony Trewavas’s claims that wind power is ineffective in tackling emissions, expensive and unreliable are tired and inaccurate.

Firstly, the claim that wind is “unlikely” to reduce climate emissions has repeatedly been shown not to stack up.

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The UK government, the UK Energy Research Council, Imperial College London and the National Grid are just some of the organisations that reject this particular myth.

In 2012, Scotland’s renewables displaced more than 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing almost all the annual emissions from every car, bus, lorry and rail journey in Scotland.

Renewables now supply nearly 40 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.

Secondly, onshore wind is not twice as expensive as nuclear, even after most of nuclear’s clean-up costs have been absorbed by the state. Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows the best onshore wind farms globally are already producing power as cheaply as gas and nuclear, while the average onshore wind farm will reach parity with conventional generation by 2016.

Just as we see these cost reductions for renewables, it appears the UK government is set to fix support for new nuclear for 20 years longer than for onshore wind.

Thirdly, while the cost of energy is an issue of real concern for consumers, particularly in fuel-poor households, the main culprit here is precisely our dependence on fossil fuels, not wind power. The rising wholesale cost of gas – up 240 per cent over a decade, according to Ofgem –is by far the biggest driver of increased bills.

Improving energy efficiency will cut costs to consumers, while harnessing our own renewable power will reduce our exposure to the volatile global energy market that has been responsible for 60 per cent of the increase in energy bills between 2010 and 2012.

The truth is, wind energy, in the right places, is already making a positive contribution to Scotland’s energy mix and playing a significant role in helping us meet our critical emissions reduction targets.

Scientific Alliance Scotland’s myth-making about wind energy does the Scottish public a disservice.

Lang Banks

WWF Scotland

(Dr) Richard Dixon

Friends of the Earth Scotland

Lloyd Austin

RSPB Scotland