I am writing in response to recent comments on the work of Scottish Renewables (Letters, 15 May).
We are an apolitical organisation working to ensure Scotland has the optimum conditions for the growth of an industry that meets more than a third of the country’s power needs, is supporting more than 11,000 jobs, creating new opportunities for young people through apprenticeships and training, is reducing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels, protecting consumers from rising energy bills and attracting billions of pounds of investment during a time of economic difficulty.
The industry brings real benefits to households and businesses across the land.
The most recent YouGov poll, published last month, has given the clearest indication yet that the renewables industry has the support of the majority of Scots – with 71 per cent saying they support wind power as part of our energy mix.
Community benefit – a point raised in the letter from GM Lindsay – is a voluntary payment made by developers in agreement with local communities and is not a material consideration for the planning authority responsible for passing or rejecting projects. The renewables industry is just one of a number which offers community benefit.
There are many cross-party groups in operation at the Scottish Parliament and their objective is to bring together MSPs, industry, civic groups and members of the public to discuss issues of importance to that particular group.
The Cross Party Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency is convened by MSPs from the four main parties, who together decide on agendas and speakers and who are responsible for ensuring the group complies with all relevant standards and procedures.
The conveners rely on support from Scottish Renewables and the Energy Saving Trust Scotland to assist with administration of the group, such as the distribution of meeting notices and papers, which is perfectly in line with the rules on cross-party groups.
Indeed, GM Lindsay would be welcome to join the next meeting and can register on the Scottish Parliament website.
Lastly, the content of our conference programme and events is clearly a matter for us and our members, but we can confirm that we have invited prominent groups that have criticised wind power to speak at our Onshore Wind conference in June and Graham Lang of Communities Against Turbines will be participating.
Lenin is reputed to have opined that “Communism will be Socialism, but with electricity”.
The future advocated by Alison Johnstone MSP (Perspective, 15 May) is likely to be socialism without much electricity.
Her views represent the entirely Malthusian view of the world represented by mainstream Green thinking. Rather than being radical, such views are, in fact, conservative and regressive. For example, per unit of energy produced, inefficient renewable energy requires vast quantities of land, concrete and steel.
Similarly, inefficient organic farming requires the intensive use of human labour which could be used more productively elsewhere, generating prosperity or delivering public services.
In contrast, the new eco-pragmatists, led by heretical environmentalist Stewart Brand, embrace innovation and economic growth to boost global prosperity and provide the resources to decouple human needs from the environment.
Compact nuclear energy is seen as the most effective means of displacing carbon from energy production, while genetically modified (GM) agriculture is seen as an effective means of boosting food production, without annexing more land from nature. These are two key innovations dogmatically opposed by mainstream Green thinking.
In contrast to Alison Johnstone, true radicals such as Sylvia Pankhurst stated that “we do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance”.
It seems that the greatest threat both to the environment, and the prospects of the developing world, is fast becoming mainstream Green thinking itself.
Colin R McInnes
Williamwood Park West