Your report (“Blow for Scotland’s offshore wind farms as investment halves”, 28 January) mistakenly suggests that offshore wind farms are less controversial than those onshore.
It is true that unlike the onshore variety they do not destroy the landscape, but their impact on the marine environment has the potential to be even more serious.
Given the Scottish Government has shown little care for the environment, perhaps it should at least consider the economics of offshore wind farms again. The owners of these monstrous, unreliable machines are guaranteed three times the existing wholesale price for electricity, even at times when they are not supplying electricity to the grid, and this will have to be paid for by taxpayers, consumers and Scottish business.
This guarantee will reduce the competitiveness of Scottish businesses and push more people into fuel poverty, with only the energy companies benefiting as they generate massive profits on the back of these subsidies at everyone else’s expense. Perverse as it seems, the reduction in investment offshore will be good news in the long run for the rest of the Scottish economy, as electricity prices will be lower for us all as a result.
The letter from WWF, FoE and RSPB representatives attacking Scientific Alliance Scotland contains more misinformation and irrelevances than can be addressed in a single response. I shall therefore restrict myself to dealing with one item, the cost to consumers of wind power. It is correct that the cost to the producer of electricity from onshore wind turbines, at about 5p/kWh, is comparable to that of gas or nuclear. Alas, this is not the cost to the consumer. What the consumer pays includes the renewables obligation subsidy of about 5p/kWh for onshore wind and 10p/kWh for offshore. Further hidden costs of grid upgrading, such as the £800 million Beauly-Denny link, have been estimated to be about 7.5p per kWh. All these costs end up on our electricity bills.
Jack W Ponton, FREng, Emeritus professor of engineering
It seems that the bubble has finally burst with investment in offshore windfarms in Scotland, which have now collapsed in 2013 to a record low, as the major energy players carefully review the large costs and questionable revenues of this form of power generation.
The financial model promoting wind energy is fatally flawed owing to its unreliability, plus the expensive duplication of back-up energy sources to ensure supply.
Dennis F Grattan
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