The UK’s former energy minister, Labour’s Brian Wilson (Perspective, 6 February), has concluded that “Coal is gone. Nuclear is vetoed. Oil is in decline. Wave and tidal don’t work. Wind is intermittent”, and therefore we should seriously consider “fracking” across central Scotland to produce shale gas.
Scotland has huge coal resources remaining underground that, as far as I know, have not gone anywhere; in fact underground coal gasification could add considerably to Scottish gas supplies.
Doubts remain over the safety and ultimate costs of developing nuclear energy from fission but perhaps we are finally not far from the day when fusion will become a safe commercial reality in spite of its long unfulfilled promise.
While it is not in dispute that oil production from Scotland’s established fields are in decline, the extent of future fields still to be discovered is uncertain and new geological sources of oil, such as naturally fractured basement rock, may have great potential.
To simply write off wave and tidal when both at some time in the future could significantly contribute to Scotland’s energy needs is not only short-sighted but betrays a lack of belief in Scottish ingenuity as well as a lack of understanding of the potential benefits to Scotland, in terms of jobs and wealth creation, in leading an industry from its infancy.
As for wind, it may be intermittent and offshore wind farms may still be relatively expensive to construct but advances in technology and energy storage systems suggest that wind can still contribute further to Scotland’s energy mix.
Perhaps if Mr Wilson and others who appear obsessed with denigrating the SNP could more constructively contribute to the debate on the balanced fulfilment of Scotland’s future energy demands an early second independence referendum, which they appear to dread, would be less likely!