REBECCA McQuillan’s article (“Renewable power is cheap so why are we being ripped off?”,The Herald, June 3) exhibited a very poor level of background research and a too-ready acceptance of renewable energy industry myth and misconception.
Even a cursory examination of recent wind farm operators’ accounts lodged at Companies House or a quick review of the various papers authored by Professor Gordon Hughes, of the University of Edinburgh, would reveal that the capital and operating costs of wind power are far greater than those of coal or gas and marginally more than nuclear when the relatively short lives of wind power assets are considered and the intermittent generating performance and resulting poorer energy yield of wind turbines are taken into account.
If wind power is “low cost”, why are China, India and the whole Pacific Rim currently building scores of coal and gas-fired power stations? Are these countries ignoring a low-cost option? Germany and Denmark are champions of wind power. Is it just coincidence that – before the current energy industry turmoil – they had the two most expensive electricity prices in the world?
There would be no wind or solar industry at all if the participants hadn’t been lavished with scores of billions in Government subsidies over the life of the industry so far. Due to activist hysteria and Government ignorance, oil and gas extraction has been demonised, supply has shrunk, demand has remained the same or greater and, as a direct result, oil and gas prices have rocketed. This distorted market means gas-based electricity generation now costs as much as wind-derived electricity always has. If the wind industry is now paying back into the public coffers it is not before time.
The recent and very low CfD (contract for difference) prices for new wind farm projects require closer examination. Do not be misled that this indicates any decrease in cost. These CfD figures are prices, not cost. The cost of wind-generated electricity is way above the CfD prices. Again, the information to verify this is easily available. Unless these ventures intend to lose millions of pounds per week when they commence operation, it is as good as certain the operators concerned will merely exit their CfD contracts for the small penalty payable and commence new negotiations with the energy market geniuses working for the various governments. If, by that time, even more gas and nuclear generating assets have been decommissioned, it could be that we will have to pay the wind operators whatever they ask for. Maybe this was always their plan.
Activism, Government ignorance and media laziness are combining to propel Britain into a cul-de-sac of intermittent and extremely expensive power that will place millions of ordinary folk in “heat or eat” difficulties that will get steadily worse as energy costs create irresistible cost pressures and widespread economic damage.
“Why are we being ripped off?”– we have government hierarchies that lack technical and economic understanding and which can’t say “No” to noisy and aggressive activists. We also have journalists who don’t ask the right questions.
Andy Cartwright, Glasgow.
No reason to ban fracking
LAST week three earthquakes were recorded across the UK: A 2.1 magnitude in Ayrshire, 2.3 in Cheshire and 3.8 in Shropshire. The British Geological Survey said that there are approximately 200 to 300 earthquakes felt in the UK each year and are usually below a magnitude of 3.0, so why was fracking for shale gas stopped when a miniscule tremor of 0.5 on the Richter scale was recorded?
The UK must ignore the green Luddites and immediately recommence drilling on land and sea and become energy-independent and not be held to ransom by Russia and other aggressive and unfriendly nations.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.
Time to go and set a good example
IT has been said that when a clown moves into a palace, he doesn’t become a king but rather the palace becomes a circus. And thus I give you 10 Downing Street. And from Sue Gray’s report of repugnant treatment of cleaners and security staff we see that it is an elitist and arrogant circus whose members think they are above following their own laws.
However, what surprises me most about Partygate is that the media and citizens of the UK are surprised. Boris Johnson is a serial liar, at the Daily Telegraph and during Brexit (“oven-ready deal” anyone?) and quite probably in his private life given his history and so why would he not try to lie his way out of this current mess?
What surprises, and disappoints me, more is that decent Tories in all parts of the UK continue to vote for this clown. Yes, to her credit, Baroness Ruth Davidson has been very vocal in condemning Mr Johnson but the biggest surprise, indeed gobsmacking shock, is that Labour and the LibDems, as a consequence of the local elections, have gone into coalition, in Fife and other places, with the party of the Clown Prince Johnson. I really do wonder how happy their supporters are with this position? And also what the trade unions who represent cleaners and security staff think of this? Is that what any of them voted for? Or are we in Scotland now simply in a two-faction situation until independence is won?
However given reports that 49 per cent of English voters want English independence then maybe we will get there faster than we think.
But the reality is that if Scotland were already independent then all of this Partygate stuff would be an amusing footnote on the occasional news bulletin and Scottish news bulletins could be devoted to the normal issues of a properly democratic, non-elitist, caring country and be able to devote more airtime to the recent steps forward in the Scottish space industry and the recent news that employment in the Scottish digital sector has increased by some 25%.
As a country it is surely time to go on our own and set a good example to our neighbours in the south.
Rab Mungall, Dunfermline.
DAVID Patrick (Letters, June 3) states “Scotland is a democracy and that’s how democracy works” – we all of know that, except of course the SNP (I won’t even mention the Greens who childishly and rudely refused to attend and congratulate Her Majesty last week at the Scottish Parliament’s official meeting to do so) – and its followers, who only agree with Mr Patrick’s statement about democracy as long as it can be manipulated by his own party; ie, totally ignore the democratic independence referendum which was lost by the SNP in 2014, despite the then First Minister and the current First Minister both declaiming that the vote in 2014 was a once in a lifetime generation vote. Eight/nine years does not constitute a generation.
So I disagree very much with Mr Patrick’s statement that “if these campaigners are arguing that a referendum should not now be held then they are not supporters of democracy”. I think that is totally clear and easy to realise who are not the supporters of democracy.
Walter Paul, Glasgow.
Let our debate be respectful
CLEARLY there are some who do not wish to promote respectful debate around a review of the current constitutional arrangements of the UK with the use of terms such as “zealous nationalists” (Letters, June 3) and “divisive referendum” (Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar, Alex Cole-Hamilton regularly at First Minister’s Questions). Of course, it is common for those who can offer little in constructive argument to resort to misleading sound bites and the denigration of those expressing views with which they disagree.
As a young student I was not only pro-British but when I later lived in Australia I argued in favour of retaining the British monarch as the Australian head of state. While times have changed in many ways, one thing that has not apparently progressed since I was a student (a number of decades ago) is that many of Scotland’s graduates have little choice but to look south, and beyond, for good jobs, because there is still not the comparable infrastructure investment in Scotland as inthe south-east of England.
This is the case even though Scotland’s energy resources are still effectively funding much of the UK Government’s expenditures, including its response to the cost-of-living crisis via a windfall tax.
The fact others have not travelled the same roads of my personal journey does not prevent me from respecting their differing perspectives, or their fears, on possible fundamental change to the UK’s constitutional arrangements.
That said, I think most people now see that true democracy in the UK is under threat and that we all have a vested interest in making government work honestly and better for all people living on the island of Britain, an aim we are more likely to achieve if we engage in respectful debate irrespective of the constitutional outcome.
Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.
CREDIT: Drew Allan