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Government should heed scientific advice

FORMER Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and Maggie McGinlay of Scottish Enterprise both seem euphoric over the prospect of a new offshore wind farm storing enough energy for two million iPhones (“Revolutionary wind farm revealed”, The Herald, June 11).

Two million iPhones sounds impressive, but what does it actually mean? An internet search shows that the iPhone 6 battery has a storage capacity of 6.91Wh. Two million iPhones’ worth is13.82MWh, a paltry18.43 minutes at full power from the wind farm (assuming 15 turbines at 3MW). This is not a significant breakthrough in wind energy storage.

Fortunately the Scottish Government has now appointed a new Chief Scientific Advisor who should be able to advise on claims by the wind industry and stop ministers and senior civil servants enthusiastically supporting such renewable lame ducks.

Unfortunately, Scottish Ministers have a very poor track record in taking scientific advice. Nicola Sturgeon’s “deeply sceptical” view on fracking taking precedence over the Scottish Government-commissioned Independent Expert Scientific Panel – Report on Unconventional Oil And Gas’ conclusion that “experience … suggests that none of the particular issues raised by unconventional gas developments would be insurmountable, given adequate planning and effective regulation” is a case in point.

Stuart Young,

The Larches, Laggan Bridge, Newtonmore.

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