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Britain’s energy policy went from weird to bizarre

THE answer to Britain’s power supply is beneath our feet, writes Stuart Young. There has been much discussion recently about the unintended consequences of certain decisions, actions, or lack of action, regarding UK energy policy. Last autumn extensive media attention was devoted to the possibility of power cuts. That prompted me to look at the sequence of events leading to a once great nation not having a reliable electricity generation and distribution system. I found a number of unexpected and perhaps unpredictable consequences, but I also found a number of unexpected and...

Time to sort the facts from the fiction on GM crops

There has been some correspondence back and forth in this newspaper recently about the thorny issue of GM crops. There has been some correspondence back and forth in this newspaper recently about the thorny issue of GM crops. Genetic modification became a commercial reality in the mid-1990s and, since then, few topics seem to have generated so much misinformation and mud-slinging. The scientific evidence is clear; GM crops currently approved are as safe as any other variety of the same crop. Attempts to "prove" otherwise are a clear example of anti-science bias, with...

Examination of WWF Scotland’s Claims for Wind Generation

Conducted by Stuart Young in collaboration with Dr George M Lindsay.

Renewables drain our resources

ENVIRONMENTAL advantages of renewable energy are a myth – fusion energy is the way forward says Anthony Trewavas Renewables use sun, water, wind; energy sources that won’t run out. Non-renewables come from things like gas, coal and uranium that one day will. But unless electricity and motorised transport are abandoned altogether, all “renewables” need huge areas of land or sea and require raw materials that are drilled, transported, mined, bulldozed and these will run out. Wind turbine towers are constructed from steel manufactured in a blast furnace from mined...

Relying on wind power won’t be miracle solution

What is this other source to be, if not nuclear, says Jack Ponton The Holyrood parliament does not have formal responsibility for energy policy in Scotland. However, it does have control of general planning. Further, the owners of Scotland’s conventional electricity generation capacity have currently no incentive to expand it. These factors have enabled Holyrood effectively to take control of all new energy developments. This has already resulted in the construction or consent of renewable capacity to meet the more than 96 per cent of the SNP’s 2020 target of the “...

That mankind is changing the climate is commonly accepted

The claim is supported by increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil-fuel burning, a global temperature increase from 1975-1998 and future temperature projections derived from climate models. The Kyoto protocol based on model projections aims to keep future temperature elevations below 2ÚC by severe reductions (decarbonisation) in GHG emissions, and fossil-fuelled electricity generation is considered a primary emitter. But the alternatives, so-called renewables, are very expensive and area-hungry. Biofuels from cereals have actually increased world food prices; wood has...

In the News

Read recent news related to Scotland surrounding the themes of Our Planet, Our Resources and Our Technology.

Farming in harmony with wildlife

Intensive production methods have skewed agriculture’s connection with nature and that must be reversed, says Edward Baxter The Land Reform Review Group’s proposals for radical change in the ownership of land in Scotland published at the end of May this year are of no small consequence. Two years in the gestation and fraught with much politicking, their report included a proposal for the absolute right to buy for some agricultural tenants, those few thousand individuals holding secure ’91 Act tenancies. The upshot of this proposal will be an argument about the capital...

Thorium has the power to transform our energy

by ANTHONY TREWAVAS Nuclear power need not be a threat, says Anthony Trewavas Use of thorium instead of uranium in reactors can allay virtually all public concern over weapons proliferation, radioactive pollution, toxic waste and fuel that is costly and complicated to process. Thorium is the most abundant, most readily available, cleanest and safest energy source on earth; yet it remains unknown by both the public and politicians. Novel reactor design, the liquid fuel thorium reactor (LFTR), uses thorium fluoride as both coolant and fuel. It has enormous advantages over the use of...

Only nuclear power ticks all the boxes

THE Scottish Government has ambitious plans for spending vast sums of money on huge numbers of wind turbines and experimental wave and tidal energy projects. But there is a growing realisation that this simply pushes up electricity bills while reducing energy security and making it increasingly likely that the lights will go out. This might be feasible when it is English consumers who are bearing the brunt, but an independent Scotland would be crippled by shouldering the costs of renewable energy alone. With this in mind, we should ask what has driven the Scottish Government to...

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