Readers' Letters: Don’t be in dark about renewables potential

Here’s a startling fact to begin the New Year: Wind turbines do not produce any energy at all, full stop.

The First law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be converted from one form to another.

So-called “renewables” should more accurately be called energy collectors. They collect energy that already exists, in the form of wind or sunlight, and convert what little there is into electricity.

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Therein lies the perpetual problem. If it is dark, still and cold, typical midwinter conditions, there is no energy to collect, thereby literally leaving us in the dark! As we discovered recently, in frosty December, wind “energy” is a technological dead-end. The intrinsically better sources have what is known as greater energy density. For example, water is 800 times denser than air, so hydro is always going to give a much greater conversion capture than wind. Coal is intrinsically denser than wood, so much more thermodynamically efficient. A coal fire burns much hotter than wood.

Wind is a woeful form of renewable, writes reader (Picture: George Maciver/Adobe)Wind is a woeful form of renewable, writes reader (Picture: George Maciver/Adobe)
Wind is a woeful form of renewable, writes reader (Picture: George Maciver/Adobe)

Nuclear, working at atomic level, wins the energy density stakes hands down.

The other hugely damaging problem with “unreliables” is their truly voracious material and land requirements. At present, all the world’s energy plants occupy around 0. 5 per cent of the earth’s surface. Trying to capture all our energy from solar and wind would require an astonishing 50 per cent of the Earth’s surface!

This will leave virtually nowhere for farming, food production, forests, fishing, nature, wildlife habitats, recreation or us.

Before the planet is completely carpeted, and wrecked with “renewables” it is high time the collective density of our deluded, ever-so-green, politicians realised this!

Yours, trying to protect our natural world, not destroy it

George Herraghty, Elgin, Moray

No surprise

The Scotsman’s front page article yesterday states “support” in a public poll for the higher taxes introduced by John Swinney in his latest tax hiking budget.

However, I am surprised this warrants front page treatment as the story comes as no surprise if one considers that around 43 per cent of Scots pay no tax at all and of the circa 2.5m existing taxpayers, most are on the starting and basic rate. Research from the Fraser of Allander Institute shows only 15,000 Scots pay the top “additional” rate for those earning above £125,000. It is so very easy to “support” higher taxes when those polled are unlikely to pay them. A simply flawed “poll”.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

A thought

How about making the 2026 Holyrood elections the “de facto” referendum, not the 2014 UK general election? The indy debate shouldn't just be a rant against the Tories, but a judgement on the SNP/Green independence proposition and assessment of their track record in running core, devolved, public services like councils, housing, education and health as a guide to their ability to run an independent country

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Westminster woes

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Can Scotland afford another year like 2022? It’s a very pertinent question to politicians and leaders from all walks of life because 2022 was a political year like no other. Gift wrapped from Westminster we got three Prime Ministers, four Chancellors, five Education Secretaries, three Home Secretaries, plenty of political shenanigans, dodgy deals, crashing the economy and much more, begging the question: can we afford to continue this relationship much longer?

At the last Westminster election, Scotland soundly rejected the Conservatives, yet we are saddled with their austerity policies and their leaders. Austerity policies that are leaving the vulnerable with no option but to visit their local foodbanks, to sit cold and hungry. Just how many would have sat home alone, cold and hungry on Christmas Day if it were not for the enormous generosity and goodwill of charities?

As demonstrated in the last Scottish Budget Statement by John Swinney when he increased the higher rates of income tax, there are huge differences between the economic policies and priorities of Holyrood and Westminster. For example, the Scottish Government does not believe in taxing the sick through prescription charges and they have reached out to families with the introduction and roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment (£25/wk) for eligible under 16-year-olds. Westminster still have reserved powers over energy, which includes domestic/commercial energy costs which are upmost in the economy of hardworking household and businesses. The Westminster Government must rein in the energy companies’ profits, it is an outrage that those who have worked and contributed all their days, to the economy of the country, now in their later years are wary of putting their heating on as it will eat up more than half of their state pension!

The ways of Westminster are no way for a socially just society going forward into 2023 – we simply cannot afford another year like 2022.

Catriona C Clark, Banknock, Falkirk

Brexit blues

On 4 February 2016 David Davis MP, one of the many incompetent and out-of-their-depth Brexit negotiators, wrote that within minutes of a Leave vote German car manufacturers would be demanding there be no barriers to access to the British market.

As it turned out they had to sit on their hands as the UK car industry has been decimated to an extent that the Metropolitan Police is ordering its next fleet of armoured vehicles for government protection duties from Audi. It seems that due to Brexit supply chain issues no British manufacturer, including their usual supplier, Jaguar, is able to meet their requirements.

Not to worry, the current government is hailing a new deal for farmers to sell pork to South Korea. It could be worth a massive £1 million over five years. The relevant trade barrier had already been removed for EU farmers in September… so much winning.

According to latest models Brexit reduced GDP by 5.5 per cent by the second quarter of 2022, the equivalent of £33 billion or £12bn in lost tax revenues. By some estimates, if we had not had Brexit we would not require Austerity Mark 2 now being imposed on us.

Never mind, thanks must be due for the black passports.

Graham Hay, Livingston, West Lothian

Write to The Scotsman

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