Renewables’ cost

I attended “The Economics of Renewables” conference organised by The Scotsman on Tuesday which focused on the subsidy-driven development of wind farms and smaller renewable energy schemes in Scotland and the resultant impact on electricity bills.

There are other costs that were not considered. These include the cost of processing applications through the planning system, the costs of appeals and local public inquiries, the cost of funding the raft of management in the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise and the cost of the funding they make available to support innovation and development.

Then there is the cost of soft loans to develop farm and community-led schemes where the costs of bringing a proposal to the application stage are written off if the venture is unsuccessful. All these and more are paid for by the consumer, either through their electricity bills or through taxation. This is a huge and unsustainable burden.

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Then there is another very real cost of development which is the landscape and visual impact. Many of Scotland’s finest landscapes, both wild and rural, are being damaged by wind farms and the rash of smaller developments and government policy is encouraging that damage.

As Voltaire rightly said: “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”

Graham Lang

The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland



I am writing to clarify statements made by John Constable, Renewable Energy Foundation, in the article, “Going green will cost Scottish householders £170 a year” (14 December).

First of all, figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that support for large-scale renewables through the Renewables Obligation Certificates (Rocs) add around £20 to the average annual household energy bill. Increases in global gas prices have added between £150 and £200 in the past few months alone.

Ofgem, whose principal objective is to protect the energy consumer, has clearly stated that having increased capacity of renewables in our energy mix will safeguard consumers against volatility in the gas market.

Clean forms of energy, such as renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, are more expensive today than polluting forms of power such as gas and coal. However, costs are coming down, and overall the government’s green energy policies are projected to save consumers more than £90 a year in 2020.

Niall Stuart

Scottish Renewables

Bath Street


In reply to Dr Gordon Cochrane’s letter (14 December) about Reform Scotland’s report on energy, I share his misgivings. At The Scotsman Conference on the Economics of Renewables, I discovered there is not a single engineer on the Reform Scotland panel.

Celia Hobbs

Peebles Road