HOW ironic that at the time of the “environmental” groups’ call for higher targets for renewable technologies (“Experts: Half of our power can be green by 2030”, The Herald, October 10), Scotland was importing more than 1200MW of much needed electricity from England, including nuclear and fossil fuels, to keep our lights on and industry running. As temperatures plummet and demand rockets, that regular high sits over the whole UK and with not a puff of wind all Scotland’s thousands of turbines sit idle. None of the begging for our wind power from our neighbours as Alex Salmond predicted – quite the reverse in fact.
Better insulation to make homes warmer and lower consumers’ bills is a n-=brainer; increasing the likes of wind power and electric transport to help reduce our emissions and set us on the path to a low-carbon economy is not. The suggestion that Scotland will produce all its electricity needs from renewables by 2020 is almost certainly impossible. Other countries with far less demand than ours have failed to run without diesel generators as back up.
This report must have been music to the ears of Scottish Renewables CEO, Niall Stuart, as he called for us to “lift our horizons” so that his members can continue to make huge profits and keep shareholders happy. I do care about our environment and that is why I bother to research into what is claimed to be clean energy. The shocking truth is that the drive for renewables, including batteries for electric transport and storage, is feeding a large unregulated industry for cobalt, lithium, rare earth and other metals. While some components are required in cellphones and computers it is believed the amount required could come from ethically mined and processed sources. Add in the tonnage required by renewables and the suffering of the vulnerable who are employed in the unregulated toxic industry explodes as they are forced to work in the most appalling conditions. Their lands are polluted and their health and that of their families is severely compromised.
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Who cares? We should because we are being sold something as green, clean and free and on the face of it certainly seems so. Dig a bit deeper and it is there for all to see. It is no exaggeration to say that people are dying in other countries because of our demand for what they are producing. Unless the industry cleans up its act and refuses to buy from any unregulated sources, their emissions savings claims are meaningless, unethical and immoral and any supporting politician should be ashamed.
Lift our horizons? I would suggest we need to widen them and see what is really happening rather than believe what we are spun by those with vested interests.
Darach Brae, Beauly.