Time we had an energy regime driven by our national interest
READ the Scottish Government's "demolition" of the Westminster Government's ramshackle and dysfunctional electricity generation policy ("SNP:
give us big say on energy or lights will go out", The Herald, April 7) as did Sir Donald Miller, but I find his intervention (Letters, April 8) on the report a red herring. The question of whether there should be a new nuclear power station in Scotland at this time is hardly a priority when we are exporting up to 25% of our electricity production. And Sir Donald's remarks about the cost of Scotland's renewables, mainly onshore wind, pale into insignificance when one looks at the massive projections over the next decade by Ed Davey and Greg Barker for much more expensive offshore wind and solar PV in England. Has Sir Donald no view on these projections?
The real questions that should be directed at the Scottish Government are these:
First, why are you apparently so desperate to remain an integrated part of the UK electricity generating market, which is certainly not in Scotland's interest to do so? Where does Scotland benefit from having more renewable - that is, wind farm - capacity than its international obligation would oblige it to have, and where does Scotland benefit from having its flexible and low-cost, yet still subsidised, hydro electricity exported to England to the financial benefit of two predominantly foreign-owned private companies?
Secondly, why are you so keen to continue in a system that is driven by a subsidised free market approach when more and more people are beginning to question the operation of this free market? Our so-called free market delivers expensive electricity to Scotland only when high profits are guaranteed. It pays no attention to any national interest. It is time it advocated that we should go back to planning a system that utilises Scotland's wide range of generating resources to provide a secure and least-cost industry driven by the Scottish national interest.
1 Nairn Way,
IT is not often I find myself in even partial agreement with the SNP's Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. He is quite correct in attributing the coming crisis in UK electricity supply to the misguided energy policies of Westminster governments of all complexions.
However, his own party can claim no credit for Scotland's apparently more secure supply. This is largely due to the existence of two nuclear power stations. Had the SNP, with its opposition to nuclear power, had any say in the matter neither would have been built.
The wind turbines that have proliferated across our countryside make no contribution whatsoever to energy security, as they operate at the whim of the weather rather than in response to consumers' needs. On the contrary, the subsidies that consumers have been forced (by Westminster, but with the SNP's approval) to pay for these have made them the only rational investment for any energy company. The priority given to so-called "green" power on the grid reduces the efficiency and thus profitability of existing conventional generation, further ensuring that none has been built. This is the essential investment that has indeed been "driven away" by both governments' policies.
Jack W Ponton,
Emeritus Professor of Engineering, University of Edinburgh,
Scientific Alliance Scotland
7-9 North St David Street,
I AM delighted to see the rational content in Sir Donald Miller's letter published.
It is difficult to understand how any competent body can justify the outrageous sums that are expended on wind farms.
The annual footprint rental for each turbine could be described as no better than blackmail, either to hard-pressed farmers who could not with any common sense refuse such bounty, or, as in many cases, to wealthy landowners who must feel that their ship has come in.
It would be encouraging to hear more from some of the many worthy engineers and physicists who in the past 50 years have provided us with safe, and clean, nuclear power.