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Time we had independent checks on renewables data

I was not surprised to read that Prof Ian Morton, Senior Partner, Engineer Solutions, the lead author of the report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) which was so critical of the Scottish Government’s renewables-based energy policy, found it difficult to obtain any really accurate data from Government sources (Letters, November 8).

As a technically-aware layperson I have written to Scottish Ministers with the most basic of questions about renewable energy and the future of energy in Scotland. Some of the replies were almost derisory and, worse, seemed to show the person appointed to reply on behalf of a Minister was far from capable of doing so. I have even had replies where the writer did not seem to know their mega-watts (MW) from their mega-watt hours (MWh) nor the difference between capacity and consumption.

The lack of transparency, broad-brush percentages and soundbites from the Scottish Government needs to stop. It is time accurate data is supplied and scrutinised by truly independent experts so that we can all see where the Scottish Government’s 2011 routemap for renewable energy in Scotland, with its targets of meeting an equivalent of 100% demand for electricity by renewable energy by 2020 and 11% renewable heat, is taking us and at what cost.

With tidal and wave generation hardly out of the starting blocks, ever more wind turbines will have to be constructed to meet targets, with any surplus power sold to England at an extremely discounted price. Existing conventional power plant, despite its age, together with new conventional plant, will be needed to meet actual demand and provide back-up for wind. The result will be even higher emission levels and soaring electricity bills. Maybe it is time for less bluster from Alex Salmond and more heed to the experts?

Neil McKinnon,

Tulchan, Glenalmond, Perth.