Professor Geoffrey Boulton (your report, 12 December) appears to believe, like the SNP, that Scotland can ultimately obtain all its electricity from renewable sources. Surely he knows this is impossible: generating more than 20 per cent of our electricity from such erratic sources would destabilise the grid.
This view also contradicts the Royal Society report which he helped write. This concluded that it was desirable to have “a diversity of supply sources” and it doubted the feasibility of supplying even 40 per cent of electricity from renewable sources.
Prof Boulton also describes nuclear power as “ultimately unsustainable”, contradicting the Royal Society report, which concluded that “the choices are clean coal (including biomass co-firing), gas and nuclear” and encouraged the UK and Scottish governments to keep open the nuclear electricity generating option in the interests of diversity, security of supply and the suppression of greenhouse gas emissions.
I don’t know how far into the future he was looking, but nuclear energy, especially deploying fast reactors and fuel recycling, could supply electricity for thousands of years.
I call that “sustainable” for even beyond the foreseeable future.
Your report (7 December) on Jim Mather and the SNP wanting to fast-track decisions on wind farms shows how the SNP’s attitude has changed since tha party came to power. Back in January 2007, Alex Salmond said: “There is a real difficulty with public acceptance of onshore wind. There should be a cap on future developments.”
He also said financial support for onshore wind farms should be re-examined as there was a danger onshore wind developers were getting too much cash.
I’m sure Mr Salmond will argue there’s no contradiction here, but has anyone heard the party mention a cap on wind farm development or a cut in subsidies since being elected?
The SNP should be ashamed as all it is doing is encouraging the onshore renewables industry. We are fast approaching the tipping point where the effect of wind farms on people’s homes and lives as well as our tourism and our environment is irreversible.
And please, no-one tell me this is about saving the planet because it isn’t; it’s about big business, and landowners making millions out of the destruction of our natural heritage.
By Duns, Berwickshire
Jim Mather has taken on too much bybeing minister for energy as well as tourism. His recent press releases and letter (12 December) show he is struggling to understand either role.
A report commissioned by the Scottish Executive, Matching Renewable Electricity Generation With Demand, produced by the University of Edinburgh in February 2006, concluded that the then target of 40 per cent by 2020 could be met by renewables but only for 45 per cent of the time. This equates to a real figure of 18 per cent. Despite overwhelming evidence, Mr Mather has announced a new target of 50 per cent in renewables by 2020. He is also talking about an interim target for 2012 of 31 per cent. This means he has to find about 20 per cent over the next four years and the only rabbit left in his hat are the on-shore wind farm applications currently in planning.
Chairman, Highlands Against Windfarms
18 December 2007
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