Energy costs

YOUR article (“Stop pouring taxpayers’ cash into costly wind power, says Shell boss”, 26 June) requires some clarification.

Readers should be made aware that between 2004 and 2010 dual fuel bills rose by £455, of which 84 per cent (£382) was due to volatility in the gas market. A report by the government’s committee on climate change found just £75 of this rise was due to renewables and energy efficiency measures.

There are a number of factors that contribute to fuel poverty, and to lay the blame on investment in renewable energy is both inaccurate and unfair.

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We need a mix of energy sources with a stronger presence of renewables, as they will help reduce energy bills by more than they would otherwise be in the long run.

Fossil fuel generation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) costs between £105 and £140 per megawatt hour, while the UK government’s Offshore wind cost reduction taskforce recently set out how the industry can achieve its aim of reducing the cost of offshore wind to £100 per MWh by the end of the decade.

This isn’t about choosing one technology over another; securing a strong energy supply means encouraging a strong mix of technologies. There is no reason why Scotland cannot continue to develop offshore wind and explore new technologies, such as CCS, at the same time.

Jenny Hogan

Director of Policy

Scottish Renewables

Bath Street


YOUR report (23 June) that the Scottish Government plans to provide £300,000 to help council planning departments process wind farm applications.

The initial processing of such applications is a problem but not the major one. The real problem lies with the fact that the total planning process with regard to wind farm applications is skewed.

Many of the major wind farm operators have access to plentiful funds with which mount a robust appeal should an authority refuse permission. Unfortunately, many councils do not have the resources to mount a defence that is equally robust.

Fergus Ewing, minister for energy, is insistent that, “Planning authorities, and where appropriate the Scottish Government, will only allow wind farms to be built where the impacts have been found to be acceptable – and unsuitable applications are rejected”. (Letters, 17 April)

This being the case, I am sure that he will wish to make it clear to planning authorities that adequate resources will be available – from government if need be – to ensure the above policy can always be applied rigorously.

Adrian FitzGerald