Readers' letters: Who has the know-how to tackle the energy crisis?

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – claims made by environmentalists about the so-called virtues of large-scale wind and solar farms simply demonstrate engineering and technical ignorance, compounded by a serious misunderstanding of how the electricity generating industry functions.

It is an irrefutable fact that due to the variability of the weather wind and solar cannot, and will never, ensure security of supply for UK electrical energy, which requires in the order of 346 TWh per annum (2019 figure).

They are also all at sea about fracking and have fallen for all the misleading propaganda, as any geologist worth his salt will confirm. Fracking has turned the US economy around and it could do the same for the UK.

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The current UK energy strategy should predominantly be efficient gas-fired power stations of the CCGT variety, supported by hydro and tidal schemes. CCGT power stations are 60 per cent less polluting than their coal-fired cousins and are relatively quick and cheap to build. For example, you could build 20 or more CCGT power stations, each of 2000 MW capacity, for the increasing price (£24 billion) of the 3200 MW Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station.

Wind and solar power will never ensure security of supply for UK electrical energy, a reader argues.
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It is also staggering and utter madness that a caretaker Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was allowed to agree funding for a new French (EDF) multi-billion-pound (£30bn) Sizewell C nuclear reactor in Suffolk. What a legacy (nuclear waste and foreign-owned) to leave to our grandchildren.

Until genuine green generation can be achieved, such as nuclear fusion, then gas-fired CCGT power stations should predominate – of course, there is the potential of electricity from space (such as the Cassiopeia Project), which is no longer science fiction. It would appear that both the environmentalists and parliament are woefully lacking in scientific, engineering, technical knowledge and skills, to the detriment of us all.

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Dave Haskell, Cardigan, Wales

Policy failure

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Contrary to Murdo Fraser’s claims (Scotsman, 7 September), the burdens facing Liz Truss are purely of the Tories’ own making due to their failed energy policy that has resulted in Ofgem protecting the energy companies rather than consumers. Also, the UK Government’s failed handling of the Bulb Energy bailout will cost taxpayers £4 billion.

The cost-of-living crisis is a clear example of why Scotland should be an independent nation as we live in an energy-rich country where we have potentially 100 per cent capacity to generate our cheap renewable electricity but we're locked into a UK market that prices our electricity based on the wholesale gas price. We should be severing the electricity price from the inflated price based on expensive gas generation.

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As a nation, Scotland does not need the more expensive nuclear power option when we are a net exporter of energy. Our oil and gas will last another 30 years and if taxed at Norwegian levels would produce tens of billions extra every year in Scottish Government revenues.

Those sniping from the sidelines, on the miniscule cost of a referendum or overseas hubs that have resulted in higher foreign investment in Scotland, fail to realise that the Scottish Government can’t use tax powers to tackle the cost-of-living crisis as they have already set tax rates for this year and The Scotland Act only permits tax rates to be set for one year and for the whole of that year. SNP ministers are working with a fixed budget and it's a budget that has declined in value by £1.7bn since it was first published in December 2021 due to the impact of Tory inflation.

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Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Who’s indulgent?

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Murdo Fraser described nationalism as a “costly indulgence” in his opinion piece (Scotsman, 7 September).

How would your readers – or Mr Fraser! – describe the Conservative Party’s drawn-out election campaign for a new leader as the scale of the economic crisis became ever more apparent? Total stasis? Indulgent navel-gazing? A dereliction of duty? Or some combination of all three?

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David Patrick, Edinburgh

The day job

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Amidst all the clamour and hype of recent days at Westminster, we heard the Scottish Government at Holyrood getting on with the day job and presenting their Programme for Government (Scotsman, 7 September).

This Programme for Government needed to recognise the critical economic situation thousands find themselves in, through no fault of their own. Families are living in fear, fear of what lies ahead, fear of can I keep the roof over my head, can I heat the house, can I afford to eat ?

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Living daily with such insecurity simply must be addressed by government. So it was very welcome to hear included in the Programme for Government an immediate freeze on rents announced by the First Minister. This announcement includes a halt to any evictions till March 2023. Other announcements included, an extension of “free school meals” to P6 and P7 and a 25 per cent increase to the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per week, assisting over 400,000 children and families.

The cost-of-living crisis calls for extreme measures, it calls for government to take the lead, to act with urgency, so I was encouraged to hear the First Minister announce a Budget Review Statement , demonstrating the urgency of the situation. Can we expect the new Government at Westminster to do likewise and act with urgency?

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Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

Action counts

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As an independence voter of 2014 I would suggest Derek Farmer may want to have a seat because I agree with him 100 per cent regarding the personality of Prime Minister Liz Truss (Letters, 7 September).

As someone brought up in St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife but who works in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, the new Prime Minister has a head start on First Minister simply by going to Aberdeen and driving the 45 miles to Balmoral Castle in that she saw at first hand the rural nature of Aberdeenshire and the weather – and it only September.

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As someone who has worked through the pandemic delivering groceries, the best thing about it has been the absence of politicians interfering in how things are done. When you see the way things are in areas such as health and education do you really blame me for not wanting them around?

Winter 2021 was interesting with a full lockdown, one of the worst winters for a number of years in this area, unprecedented demand and a response from Her Majesty's Government that was almost as funny as watching that well-known comedy group the Flying Pigs with sketches like the Caledonia Bank – except it was not very funny.

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So, no, I don't care about the personality of Liz Truss or even Sir Keir Starmer, just that they actually govern for the country as a whole and remember that those who voted for independence in 2014 are as much a part of Union as the most ardent Unionist and instead of telling us what they don't have the power to do actually do all in their power to guide the country through this next phase of the journey.

Peter Ovenstone, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

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Time for coalition

Britain is now in trouble across many fronts, energy and inflation are just two. We are also at war with Russia, having imposed economic sanctions and provided military assistance to their opponent.

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Surely the time has come for a coalition government to pull together and get us out of this mess. Parties no longer have the luxury of propounding their own policies, which are usually no more than fine-tuning anyway. The days of adversarial politics are over.

There is worry and unhappiness in the population that will led to civil unrest if not relieved soon.

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Malcolm Parkin, Kinnesswood, Perth & Kinross

On the threshold

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Martyn McLaughlin (“Liz Truss's indyref proposals are a gift to the SNP”, Scotsman, 7 September) seems to confuse the electorate with those who vote.

A Yes result in Indyref1 required the approval by more than 50 per cent of those who vote, not the electorate. It is wrong to make assumptions about the views of those who don't vote and, for that reason, the UK Government's resurrection of the idea is undemocratic.

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All that is needed is the approval of at least two-thirds of those voting, as the SNP's own constitution would require for a constitutional change. It is regrettable that previous constitutional referenda in the UK have not demanded this threshold. Breaking up the 315-year-old union of Great Britain is no trivial matter to be settled with a mere 50 per cent plus one. Is Mr McLaughlin against any threshold?

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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Polls apart

The decision to leave the European Union shall be annulled unless 50 per cent of qualified electors confirm it in a new referendum.

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I’ve been calling for that since 2016. Thank you, Prime Minister.

There is no problem on the European side. They’ve consistently said they’ll welcome the UK back.

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Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland

Case not proven

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Nicola Sturgeon plans to abolish the “not proven” verdict, having consulted 194 sources, not named, of course, 62 per cent of whom were in favour of doing so. That is 120 people out of a population of five million and despite the “deep concerns” of the Law Society.

This chicanery is an attempt to pretend that her plans reflect a democratic process of consultation. I haven't worked put the percentage of the population that 120 people represents, but it is minute.

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Democratic? Not Nicola Sturgeon!

Lovina Roe, Perth, Perth & Kinross

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Write to The Scotsman

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