Letter: Unwise to write off renewable energy

Michael Kelly's opinion piece on energy futures (Perspective, 9 June) is based on the preposterous assertion that "world demand, particularly from emerging economies, has heralded an end to cheap energy, probably forever".

If fossil fuels or nuclear power were the only answer he might have a point - just. But they are anything but the only solutions to our current energy problems.

Solar and lunar energy exist all around us, in the forms of waves, sunshine, tides, biomass and winds. Geothermal energy exists abundantly beneath our feet.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At long last, and very rapidly, we are learning how to harness these resources efficiently, and the trajectory for the costs of electricity and heat production from these sources marches steadily downwards, year on year.

I am delighted that for the past ten years Scotland has been a leading player in driving the markets to understand this. What is more, these clean, renewable energy sources are available almost wherever we need them on the planet, in one form or another.

Instead of constant pessimism about rising costs and snide comments at environmentalists, Mr Kelly and others should be directing their concern towards the giant, centralised energy corporates which do all in their power to hold back the investment in renewables that is required to make the fastest possible technological leap into abundant, cheap, decentralised, sustainable energy production - while they continue to enslave us with highly centralised, dirty, unsafe production technologies and bind us to their grids.

People should also be bringing pressure to bear on the UK and other dinosaur governments, pointing to the Swiss, German and Scottish examples of having a little bit of faith in the power of human ingenuity and economic sense. Renewables will prevail and, within years, produce the cheap energy we crave once again.

Andy Myles

Bellevue Road


The article, "Green energy target branded unrealistic and unattainable", (10 June) reports that Mackay Consultants claimed that the Scottish Government's target of generating 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 is unrealistic and unachievable. This is simply not the case.

A recent report from one of the world's leading energy consultants, GL Garrad Hassan, shows that Scotland's renewable electricity generation can grow to comfortably exceed our electricity needs, and that the Scottish Government's target of 100 per cent renewables by 2020 is completely and relatively easily achievable.

Scotland could phase out all fossil fuel and nuclear power by 2030, maintain a secure electricity supply, and have renewables providing 185 per cent of Scotland's electricity requirements by that time without endangering protected sites and biodiversity.With increased investment in demand reduction and energy efficiency measures this target could be achieved even sooner.

Any claim from Mackay Consultants should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is the same consultancy that, for example, claimed in 1996 that the Cairngorm Funicular would be an economic success, yet the taxpayer had to bail out the operator just seven years after its launch as it was nearing receivership.

It might be interesting if Mackay Consultants could disclose who commissioned its latest report.

Scotland has ambitious targets to meet in terms of reducing its carbon emissions, and organisations like ours will work with the Scottish Government to ensure that these are achieved in part through the transition to renewables.

Stan Blackley

Friends of the Earth Scotland

Lloyd Austin

RSPB Scotland

Dr Richard Dixon

WWF Scotland

Little Dunkeld