JOHN Hodgart’s proposition (Letters, July 7) that we should risk our future with all our eggs in the wind basket needs to be challenged.

The widespread commitment to the myth that wind and solar is a free source of energy will lead to a future energy crisis. Worse, it is spread by politicians who are either gullible or ingenious, and vested interests who prioritise personal financial reward over public interest. Yes, the sun is free when it warms our bodies and nobody charges for the wind when it cools the skin. However, when these natural resources are harnessed to produce a reliable continuous supply of electrical energy to the grid, they become very expensive. So expensive that the whole system costs are at least double those for nuclear (including decommissioning cost). Now I understand that, for many, this statement is as difficult to accept as it was for the ancients to accept that the Earth was not flat. The flat Earthers were the popular majority but they were wrong.

A company that determines to build an offshore or onshore wind farm should be compelled to provide backup resources to cover low or zero output. This resource should match the Capacity Factor of a nuclear generator, that is, 90 per cent. The best offshore wind farms approach 45%, so to match nuclear they would require to provide the missing 55% by building 120% more capacity than their committed wholesale supply, and use the surplus solely to create hydrogen for fuel cell technology to regenerate electricity at times of little or no wind and perhaps some battery storage capacity too. For example, if SSE declares it intends to build a 4GW offshore wind farm, it actually puts a generator plate value of 1.8GW on it, or installs to 9GW. It should also be required to fund the necessary grid network synchronous compensation measures required for their connection. That would make the true cost of wind generation obvious and probably destroy further interest in onshore wind, where the capacity factor is barely 30 per cent.

As much as our renewable resources are a blessing, the excess of wind, the cold and lack of sun is as much a curse. They amplify the challenge of heating our homes and offices. Wind and sun should be viewed as an opportunistic source of energy. A useful contributor, but only as a part of the generation mix.

We cannot achieve net zero without nuclear, unless we destroy our marine and terrestrial environment by building the most complex, incredibly expensive and unstable power network. Worldwide development of nuclear power technology is a fact. Nuclear technology has progressed. Much of it is directed at compact solutions, incorporating inherently stable physics and much-reduced radioactive waste. Certainly, fusion technology is a long way from commercial reality. However, to turn our backs on involvement with it would be an act of folly and a very sad reflection on what Scotland has come to. It effectively denies Scotland’s great historic contribution to science and technology, a legacy of Maxwell, Rankin, Watt, Black and many others.

Norman McNab, Killearn.


WITH recent concerns of current and future water shortages in the east of Scotland, including private supplies from springs and boreholes, surely there must be suitable areas/valleys in the Cairngorms that could host combined hydro dams and potable water reservoirs?

Scottish Water already has generators in some distribution pipework and feeders to water treatment plants. There are also concerns about peatland drying out; could more peat bogs not be incorporated as buffer catchment areas for the reservoirs in times of heavy rainfall, overflooding the bogs with minor dams, permeable above the critical limit for the peat drying at times of high temperatures?

Severe and long-term water shortages cannot be solved by desalination plants, partly because of the energy required to run them, but we are also then left with the problem of disposal of the salt generated in the process. The threat to the east of Scotland will surely be followed in due course by the same to west and central Scotland, the only saving grace being a far greater number of suitable areas for dams there. Not for one minute do I suggest widespread construction of major dams/reservoirs with associated flooded valleys, but future needs must.

George Dale, Beith.


I’VE recently been watching a mini-series (streaming on Netflix) called Glitch – a story about several people returning from the dead in perfect health. It prompted the thought: oh to have the “voice of tennis” Dan Maskell back again.

Every match he commentated upon was a pleasure to watch and listen to. He educated many people on the game and always provided top-notch commentary. The reason I say this is because having moaned and groaned about the commentators at Wimbledon this year, the match between Nadal and Fritz (July 6) capped it all, when the commentator said of Fritz as he was about to serve: "Doesn’t want this rally to last longer than one." Tennis fans will appreciate just how daft that sounds.

Brian Watt, Edinburgh.


I LIKE the suggestion by Michael Watson (Letters, July 7) that three new categories of Sex Pest, Liar and Incompetent should be added to the annual Politician of the Year awards, to which I would add Amnesiac of the Year, post-dated to a masterclass performance at some Inquiry or other, I think sometime in 2021.

But I’m not 100 per cent sure. I can’t mentally recall. I don’t remember. I don’t know.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


I THINK that "What I would say" is just an expletive introductory clause, since subtle equivocation of the kind suspected by Thelma Edwards (Letters, July 5) is far beyond the capacity of most politicians. An obviously genuine example of evasion is "I think a better question would be..."

However, for a comically transparent attempt at chicanery, maximum points must surely be awarded to the estate agent who first devised the caption: "The above photograph shows the property as it was some years ago."

Robin Dow, Rothesay.