Energy generation should be based on an AAA rating: achievability, affordability and acceptability.
Norway, with about the same population, from hydro power alone produces about three times the electricity that Scotland does from all sources.
This is due to a huge natural resource and the fact that it was compelled to develop this because of the unaffordability of imported oil after the Second World War.
A plentiful supply of cheap hydro power is in fact the real reason why Norway was later able to have its oil fund.
Acceptability of hydro on this scale is largely due to the availability of a vast, unpopulated generation area.
Sweden, on the other hand, with about the same land area but double the population, chose to restrict hydro on acceptability grounds and uses instead a near 50/50 mixture of this and its ideal partner, nuclear.
That both countries generate two to three times the electricity per head as Scotland does is an indication of the reduced reliance on combustible fuel for, for example, domestic heating.
France, relying mainly on nuclear energy, has Europe’s cheapest electricity and is the world’s leading exporter of this.
It is worth noting that all three countries have both cheaper supplies and carbon emissions per unit of electricity produced which are about one sixth of that of Denmark, which relies heavily on wind power.
The recent claim (Letters, 26 February) that Scotland could produce 25 per cent of Europe’s energy from renewables is, to say the least, a bit overstated. Currently, from these sources we actually generate a fraction of 1 per cent of the continent’s needs. Indeed, on my AAA rating I long ago concluded that Scotland simply could not even meet its domestic requirements on renewables alone. We should be investing in new nuclear capability.
(Dr) A McCormick