I REFER to Alasdair Galloway’s letter of December 29 and in particular his statement that Scotland has 25 per cent of Europe’s wind power resource. While that may be true, it is certainly not an economic advantage. Although wind energy is abundant, harnessing it and converting it to a constant secure source of energy which would meet our present energy needs and the future replacement of gas is far from achievable with current technology. To achieve the required energy security based solely on renewable wind power is a huge electrical power engineering task, which although theoretically possible, would require huge capital, real estate and operating costs which would make electricity so expensive that Scotland’s economy would be crippled.

Contrary to popular opinion Scotland does not have the physical geography to support long-term energy storage based on pumped hydro power and battery storage, at a size which would support Scotland for days on end when the wind does not blow, would be a unimaginable challenge. At present all wind power’s shortcomings are met using gas power to generate sufficient electricity to meet demand. Gas frequently contributes more than 50% of total demand. The nuclear contribution is more modest, but vital, since it provides essential base load and grid stability.

Tor Justad, Chair of Highlands Against Nuclear Transport (Letters, December 31) claimed "new nuclear" is a "pipe dream". While I respect his concerns, the reality is that nuclear energy offers a safe, reliable and constant source of electricity at a fraction of the cost of wind. Should Scotland adopt a policy of sole reliance on a source of renewable energy which will cripple its economy and create immense suffering for people struggling to pay energy bills, or adopt a flexible mix of energy sources which includes in equal measures, wind, nuclear and gas, plus pumped storage, to ensure a reliable supply and guarantee that commerce and manufacturing energy costs remain on a par with international competition?

Norman McNab, Killearn.

* TOR Justad of Highlands Against Nuclear Transport advocates renewable electricity but ignores the real facts that electricity provided by renewables is unreliable. It is not carbon-free as he suggests, since fossil fuels are used in the manufacture, delivery, construction and maintenance of them and the "payback" period has been estimated as at least eight years, nearly half their life span.

Over the last 236 days renewable supplied 21.6 per cent and not-so-green biomass 7.1% of our electricity; nuclear 15.8% and gas 43.6%. Only on 41 days did the electricity supplied by renewables exceed that supplied by gas, yet Mr Justad and others want to ban nuclear and fossil fuels. However, help is at hand from an unlikely source – the European Commission is changing direction and is planning to include natural gas and nuclear in the EU's new energy classification system. Investment in these will keep the UK lights on, not the unreliable wind and sun.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

* FAR from leaving the planet in good shape for our children by tackling climate change, we are going to leave them with an energy crisis, because of our mistaken commitment to wind and sun for energy.

If we had continued with nuclear power – clean, reliable, and ultimately cheap – we would be energy-independent and not facing what for many will be unaffordable energy prices.

The Green obsession is entirely to blame for this. Remember them when the lights go out.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


I NOTE that the Scottish Conservatives wish to spend yet more of our money to reduce so-called "accidents" on our roads ("SNP accused of bowing to demands of 'extremist Green' Coalition partners", The Herald, December 31). According to my dictionary an accident is an "event without apparent cause, unexpected course of events". Yet the majority of collisions or crashes on our roads do have a cause and should not be unexpected. That is, they are not accidents. Motorists choose to drive when under the influence of drink or drugs or when tired or choose to drive too fast for the speed limit or the conditions or to overtake when it is unsafe to do so and choose to use their phone at will. I could go on but I hope you get the drift; it is humans who are generally the cause, and not the inanimate road, of these incidents.

In this time of climate emergency it is correct to say that there should be fewer motor vehicles on our roads and many more of us, particularly when in our towns and cities or travelling between them, should be walking, cycling or using public transport. This is where public money needs to be spent; it should not be spent on encouraging people to use the car.

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.


I NOTE your report on coming attractions at the Queen’s Gallery, Holyroodhouse ("Royal art heads north", The Herald, December 30). The artwork depicted was of Cleopatra holding a severed head, a savage sea storm and the portrait of a severe-looking rabbi clothed in black. Just what the nation needs to lift its spirits during these trying times. Can’t wait.

Gordon Cunningham, Glasgow.


DOES any reader know the origin of the expression "skittery winter"?

When I was a child it was associated with Hogmanay. It was shouted at the last one of the family to get up on the morning of Hogmanay.

However, when my husband worked in shipbuilding on the Clyde, it was shouted at anyone who was late for work in the drawing office, and was accompanied by striking of desks and stamping of feet.

Kate Gordon, Brookfield, Renfrewshire.


CONTINUING the theme of children asking "What's for tea?" (Letters, December 28, 30 & 31), I know of one exasperated mother who replied "Sheep s***e and onions." The child immediately burst into tears and wailed: "I don't like onions!"

Brian Johnston, Torrance.

* GIVEN the various options cited in recent letters, my mother's "Cauld kale het again" seems positively enticing.

Helen Quigley, Edinburgh.