What other country has politicians so gullible that they end up making their electorate pay to produce energy needed in another country?
What other country would set a renewable-energy obligation that taxes its consumers to produce 18 per cent of electricity to compensate for the failure of England to reach its 10 per cent obligation?
The reduced cost of connecting to the UK national grid for Scottish renewable energy producers should be welcomed because it ought to allow Scottish wind energy producers to export energy to England to be paid for by English consumers. The truth is that Scottish consumers are being obliged to pay for renewable energy to plug an English accounting gap: England may have a target that 10 per cent of electricity consumed comes from renewables, but the renewable production incentives fail to account for the fact that around one unit of renewable electricity in ten fails to reach the consumer.
This is effectively accounted for by the 8 per cent of Scottish electricity coming from large hydro, and while this does not need a subsidy from consumers, why is the renewable energy obligation for Scotland artificially set at a higher 18 per cent rather than the 10 per cent in England? If England needs Scottish wind to fulfil its renewable energy target, surely English consumers should pay Scottish wind energy producers. Indeed, because the target has been incremental, if proper account had been taken of our already high levels of renewables through hydro, then with a decent government looking after Scottish consumers not a penny would have been paid in higher bills.
When will the Scottish Government wake up and realise that the Scottish consumer is fed up of being asked to fund the English to achieve their renewable energy targets, and when will the government realise it is time to turn Scottish wind energy from a subsidy junkie into an export earner?
You claim that when we “flick on the light switch” (Editorial, 14 February) we pay for the electricity used and the cost of delivering it . But in fact, the latter is included in the former; it is not a separate charge. However, considering the purpose of your editorial, it is odd that you omitted to mention that what consumers pay also includes a hefty subsidy to the generators of uneconomic electricity from renewables.
You also claimed that Scotland’s economic future was dependent on the switch to renewable electricity generation. Insofar as the present Scottish Government’s plan is to attempt to rely entirely on renewables, this is true; the likelihood is that Scotland’s economy will collapse for lack of electricity.
It is sad to discover that a proportion of the population in Lewis appears to support the multinational company seeking to desecrate the north of the island with the construction of a host of wind turbines bigger than Big Ben.
One of the most commendable aspects of Gaelic culture is a sense of place, a love for their Hebrides and Highlands that has survived the hardships of many centuries and over countless generations. Now it would appear that this ancient affection has been eroded to the extent that some islanders are willing to permit the permanent transformation of their island.
So much for a Gaelic sense of place. “… but still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland, and we in dreams behold the Hebrides – complete with a multitude of giant wind turbines”.
19 February 2008
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