Energy options

Few Scots had a more creditable role in North Sea oil than Sir Ian Wood, but “recreational investment” – as we have seen with the Trump golf course – is a minefield. We have not seen the last energy crisis, and 
without prudent investment in 
renewable energy, the next one could overwhelm us. Aberdeen is well placed to take a central role in directing the harvest of Scotland’s renewable marine power, but the necessary transport links – by road, sea and air – are themselves oil-dependent.

The electrification of the 
Aberdeen rail link (still subject to a single-track bottleneck at Montrose) should have absolute priority.

As practically all mainland Europe’s North Sea ports are 
already thus connected, an 
initiative by Sir Ian in this direction would put the country in his debt.

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(Prof) Christopher Harvie

High Cross Avenue

Melrose

I was pleased to see the use of the conditional tense in Niall Stuart’s letter (23 August) that wind turbines “could have 
displaced 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel”.

Equally, wind turbines could have displaced none at all. We in the UK don’t know because 
no-one has actually made the necessary measurements.

There have been plenty of 
assertions from government and wind energy industry and those with a naïve view of electricity grid operation. But the only detailed engineering analysis of a similar generating situation as the UK, indicates that greenhouse gas saving with wind 
energy is at best marginal or 
effectively zero.

No-one should doubt the seriousness of this situation. Substantial rural areas of Scotland have been carpeted by wind turbines on the justification that they ameliorate climate change. Governments have signed up to legally binding emission targets based largely on the assumption that wind energy does what its proponents claim.

These are all made without the evidence that it ever did. If any good is to come from this situation it might force the SNP and Liberal Democrats to rethink their attitude to nuclear power, a process guaranteed to reduce emissions, or to explain on what scientific evidence they based their rejection.

(Prof) Anthony Trewavas FRS FRSE

Croft Street

Penicuik

I feel I must comment on Niall Stuart’s quoting of the 2011 
VisitScotland Wind Farm Consumer Research report, “which showed that 83 per cent of those surveyed said a wind farm would not affect their decision about where to stay when on a holiday in Scotland”.

The figure is 80 per cent when visitors from outside Scotland are included.

The proponents of onshore subsidy farms are strangely unwilling to cite the survey commissioned by the Scottish Government in 2008 when 93 to 99 per cent of respondents said their decisions would not be 
affected.

Perhaps this is because it shows that in the time between the two surveys, even allowing for differing methodologies, there was a significant increase in respondents saying their 
destination decision would be affected.

Given that in 2011 industrial-scale wind developments were not going up at anything like the pace they have been since, might this be an accelerating trend?

A further report could be instructive. VisitScotland is the publicly funded body charged with promoting Scotland’s appeal to the tourist looking for scenic beauty. I hope it will re-commission the same survey and we can look forward to the published results in due course.

Melanie Ford

Menmuir

Brechin