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Energy realities


IN SEEKING to “clarify” the situation on taxpayer subsidies for wind energy, Jenny Hogan is herself guilty of not telling the whole truth (Letters, 27 June).

While the bulk of energy price increases have indeed been because of the increasing cost of gas, the £75 increase to annual dual fuel bills attributable to renewables and energy efficiency measures is smaller only because so little of our current energy supply comes from wind farms.

If the Scottish Government persists with its ambitious plans for expansion of wind energy, this situation will soon change. The purported lowering of energy bills through expansion of renewables is achieved only by sleight of hand, with assumptions made of significant reductions in energy use and continued escalation in European gas prices. In reality, if the UK and its neighbours were prepared to exploit their large reserves of shale gas, European gas prices would drop as they have in America.

Comparing projected (but not necessarily achievable) plans to reduce the high cost of offshore wind with carbon capture and storage (CCS) is fatuous, as there are no large-scale, commercial power stations using CCS, nor any likelihood that the technology will be viable in the foreseeable future, despite several government attempts to fund demonstration projects.

In any case, lowering the construction costs for offshore wind farms may make renewable energy less expensive, but it remains an unreliable and intermittent source of supply which has to be backed up by equivalent fossil-fuel generating capacity.

Martin Livermore

Scientific Alliance


Current Issues

Future costs of UK energy supply

The Scientific Alliance recently published part 1 of an examination of National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios, dealing with security of supply. We are now pleased to publish part 2 - cost of supply. The authors - Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson - conclude that building more gas and nuclear stations would be considerably less expensive than any of the NG scenarios, as well as offering better energy security.

What's New

14 October 2016: Read the new report by Dr Capell Aris, published jointly with the Adam Smith Institute - Solar power in Britain: the Impossible Dream