Energy sources

At last we have the numbers I asked for (Letters, 14 February). Scottish Cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs Fiona Hyslop told the BBC on 24 February that Scotland could supply 25 per cent of Europe’s energy from renewables (I think she meant only electricity at present usage rate).

I have repeatedly (Letters passim) stressed the crucial role of hydro power in any renewables mix. Europe currently has about 100 times as much as Scotland of this commodity, and with a lot of further potential.

I could go on but will just remark that Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing recently explained that England could not import enough electricity from France because the cross-channel inter-connector capacity is only 2.5 gigawatts.

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At a very rough estimate Ms Hyslop’s 25 per cent of Europe’s generating capacity would be near 70 times that figure. Enough said.

She may, of course, have only been joking. In the same interview she called for “respect” from Westminster politicians – a few hours after her boss with his well-practised sneer had yet again trotted out the threadbare cliché of “Tory toffs on the playing fields of Eton”. In the same jocular vein could I point out that the energy Ms Hyslop proposes to generate for Europe would require about 160,000 on-shore wind turbines, or two Scotlands covered to capacity. Even Mr Salmond couldn’t produce that much wind.

(Dr) A McCormick

Kirkland Road

Terregles, Dumfries

To great fanfare Energy Secretary Ed Davey announced that Scotland will be the site of a ground-breaking £100 million energy plant.

A gas-fired carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant will be built in Peterhead, with plans to bury carbon dioxide under the North Sea.

This is yet another vanity project which will soon need even more taxpayers’ money thrown at it.

If you listen to the greens and politicians you might even think that CCS systems are well on their way to becoming a commercial reality but they are not and engineers suggest they never will be.

Five separate engineering studies showed that the average capital cost of a CCS-equipped coal or gas plant would be 76 per cent higher than a conventional plant.

The US Department of Energy estimate that CCS reduces the plant’s electrical output by 20 to 30 per cent and another study suggested more than 40 per cent.

This reduced electricity output would mean far higher prices for the consumer.

Pilot CCS projects in Canada, the USA and around the world have already been cancelled.

CCS is never going to work without massive subsidies and we already have more than enough crippling subsidies for wind turbines, thank you.

Clark Cross

Springfield Road