I NEVER thought that I would ever read again the ridiculous assertion that Scotland is "the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy" (“Protecting success in renewables could makes us global engine room”, Agenda, The Herald, July) 25. There is no comparison with China's hydro-electric schemes, wind farms and solar, never mind so many other countries with similar massive renewables. Even Germany has surpassed itself with solar and wind after phasing out nuclear, although coal has had to step in at first.
Pete Wishart's figures for Scotland's renewables jobs and investment (supplied no doubt by less-than-objective Scottish Renewables) and his re-statement that the cancellation of the UK's subsidy for offshore wind will cost up to £3 billion in lost investment and put 5,400 jobs at risk, ignore unpleasant realities such as the fact we make no turbines ourselves but import the lot; we need overseas work teams to install them; maintenance needs relatively few staff (I across came a figure of one trained fitter per onshore turbine), and the profits largely go overseas.
The next thing we will no doubt hear is that the cancellation of the development of carbon dioxide capture (CCS) and storage for our fossil fuel power plants was a wanton act of vandalism – no doubt with the repeat refrain that Scotland would have been a world leader here too. However, all fossil-fuel electricity generation is supposed to be replaced by renewables. And of course CCS-fitted power plants are already in operation or soon will be in Canada and the United States.
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Mr Wishart may well also ask himself why he wants to inflict yet more huge numbers of wind turbines on communities which are now well known to suffer from their impact.
Glenburn, St Martins Mill, Cullicudden, Dingwall.
ANDREW Shiells (Letters, July 23) indicates that instead of windmills there are “cheap, reliable, alternatives such as our abundant shale gas and small, modern nuclear plants (which harmlessly power France).”
The traffic disruption caused during windmill erection is one of Mr Shiells’s main concerns. I would have thought the construction phase of a small nuclear plant nearby would have caused more traffic disruption than windmill construction. Admittedly, once in operation, infrequent Army-escorted supplies of nuclear fuel and waste may not cause much disruption unless they are attacked. I also believe Mr Shiells has maybe overlooked the huge numbers of HGVs required for transporting chemicals for fracking which may be a bit of a strain on the A75 throughout the whole life of the fracking operation.
Also the buildings housing a “small, modern nuclear plant” or the pumping stations and the like required for fracking I don’t feel would enhance “our heritage landscape” in comparison with windmills. However the increased risk of cancer, possible earth tremors, and possible contamination of crops due to pollution of the water courses and so on, possibly even affecting Wigtown Bay, plus the misery caused by increased global warming which may end up destroying “our heritage landscape” may be a price Mr Shiells feels is well worth paying so he doesn’t have to look at windmills.
40 Burnside Road, Rutherglen, Glasgow.