Letter: Shift in the tides of energy policy 'advice'

Ministers have apparently dismissed Rupert Soames's devastating critique of SNP energy policy (your report, 13 November). Unfortunately, no minister has either the qualifications or generating company experience to do so.

In your editorial on the same day you rightly coupled "minister" with "adviser". But who are these nameless individuals, what qualifications do they have in physics, electrical engineering and necessary years of generating company experience to decide on energy policy?

Advisers can be asked to present a balanced assessment or instead to provide selected evidence to support a predetermined ideological programme. Ministers can appoint "advisers" who agree ideologically with them.

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No adviser has the monopoly of wisdom. If Salmond thinks he is right, publish the documentation, the internal advice, the internal debates and the necessary calculations. And then let the advisers engage in open debate with the much larger relevant specialist community and agree a balanced solution.

Those I know who do have the appropriate specialist knowledge and experience agree with Soames. Failure to open up by this government would suggest something to hide; it is our country and our right to know, as well as elected politicians.

(Prof) Anthony Trewavas FRS FRSE

Croft Street


The flurry of letters following Rupert Soames's speech to the Scottish Parliament on the reality of power production in Scotland will certainly make both the First Minister and the energy minister feel less secure in their "ego and hubris bunkers", but Lesley Riddoch (Comment, 15 November) still seems to have missed the point about the futility of trying to depend on renewables, being obviously still unaware of the data displayed on the Neta website.

The combined current production from wind, hydro and pump storage is less than 1,500 megawatts (what fraction of Scottish self-sufficiency is that?) while the combined total from fossil fuel and nuclear sources is approaching 50,000 megawatts.

In any case, for Alex Salmond to realise his "Saudia Arabia of renewables" fantasy, the aim is not self-sufficiency for Scotland, but a large export surplus. To attain this, could he let us know how many wind turbines will be required, where the back-up will come from in windless periods, and, if this is to come from hydro and pump storage, how many and which Highland glens will have to be dammed?

Ron Greer

Blair Atholl


Electricity from renewable sources is key to Europe's energy future. The powerful argument for promoting renewable energy rests not just on security of supply but also on jobs and growth.

Through innovation and competitiveness Scotland can rise to the challenge to lead in the European Union with the next generation of renewable technology and truly be a low-carbon economy.

Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges we face as a society.If Scotland can lead on renewable energy it sets an example for other countries to witness the possible. The lights will stay on only if we pursue our goals of a low-carbon economy with renewable energy as its cornerstone.

Catherine Stihler MEP

Labour MEP for Scotland

Church Street

Inverkeithing, Fife

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It is slightly ironic that when so many people are objecting to the erection of wind turbines others complain about the possible demolition of a 19th-century gas holder at Granton (your report, 11 November). It is possible that in 1898 some people may have objected to an eyesore and a "blight on the landscape" when the said gas holder was being constructed.

I wonder if, in 100 years from now, the same sort of people will be condemning the demolition of historic landmarks when it is the turn of the turbines to be demolished.

Ronnie Tait

Lee Crescent

Portobello, Edinburgh