SCOTLAND'S wind energy position is widely misunderstood. The UK does not own the wind turbines on our land, so neither does Scotland. They are here as the result of mainly foreign ventures, where UK landowners, including some local authorities, receive rent for imported windmills erected on their land by wind farm developers. The electricity output from these devices belongs to the developers, and they sell it to the national grid. The present UK fleet of 12,000 turbines can produce about 20 per cent of the total UK energy requirement on days when the wind blows, and Scotland buys a share of that 20% from the grid.

Many such wind farm developments are in Scotland because we have good sites for them, and this has given rise to the myth that Scotland somehow owns them and their electricity output, which is not the case. Indeed, they are a liability, as they will require replacement by 2030 on average, and their owners will be long gone with the subsidy money for which they were built, leaving the UK Government to replace them. An independent Scotland would have to make its own arrangements, such as manufacturing them rather than importing them, or reverting to coal.

As a matter of serious interest, UK ownership of North Sea oil was also conceded to private enterprise, as nuclear was seen to be the answer to reliable energy back in the 1960s, but nuclear was scuppered by the green movement, just as fossil is being scuppered now in pursuit of net zero. There is therefore an energy shortage that affects us all, simply because we are turning to wind, sun, and water to generate our total need, which they never will.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

Gas storage cause for concern

WITH some dubious chutzpah, Centrica, which operates as British and Scottish Gas, recently announced that it had introduced first re-gassing of its Rough undersea gas storage cavern off the east coast which it shut down five years ago citing increasing maintenance costs.

This facility, originally capable of storing around 100 billon cu ft of gas previously provided around 70% of the UK's storage capacity. Centrica appears to be hoping to now target only 20% of its previous peak capacity.

These quantities may appear large but at its peak before closure the UK had the capability, with Rough operating, to store the equivalent of nine days' winter usage.

Back in the day of high North Sea gas production having long-term storage back-up was deemed unnecessary. As UK output decreased Centrica sought government financial backing for two additional gas storage projects costing it, in 2013, an estimated £240m. As a private company ostensibly responsible for its own future planning government support was refused. Presumably in protecting its bottom line for shareholders, Centrica shelved the projects.

Result is the UK now has just about the lowest gas storage capability of our European friends. Compare much less than nine days with Germany at 89 days, France at 103 days and the Netherlands at 123 days, all now full of gas.

Who's the fool?
DB Watson, Cumbernauld

Take away migrant market forces

JAMES Martin's letter (November 4) regarding Albanian refugee "gangs of young men" is thought-provoking.

There are pull as well as push factors in economic migration and most of us would accept that these gangs from Albania are not fleeing war, so we should be investigating why they are targeting the UK for the activities that Mr Martin suggests. Illegal drugs, prostitution and the people-smuggling associated with it, which he cites are almost certainly the biggest reasons, as well as the obvious one that English is an almost universal lingua franca, which helps smooth the process.

The question that stands out for me though is where the market for these criminal activities is, and why it exists. I could have a guess and suggest some solutions, but I doubt that they would meet the approval of all of your readers, especially some of the more right-leaning ones.

First, if we were to legalise cannabis and prostitution, and bring it into the open where it can be controlled and regulated, one of the pull factors would be eliminated. Second, if penalties for the illegal use of dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin were increased so that their use would ruin the careers of the politicians and financiers in the city of London who, we are told, are prominent users of them, then that market would also end. I can well imagine the effect such an approach would have on some of our politicians and leading figures in the City of London though, so I'll not be holding my breath.
John Jamieson, Ayr

Motorists are the biggest menaces

I FEEL compelled to respond to Douglas Jardine's attack (Letters, November 4) on my "usual message" (Letters, November 2) about pedestrian, cycle and motor traffic. He appears to have ignored my comment that Sauchiehall Street east of Rose Street is a "core path" and thus open to pedestrian, cycle and horse traffic and he ignores the fact that we have been promised a cycle lane along that section of the street for some years now.

I think we agree that just about all road users are prone to poor behaviour on our roads but one has to ask which road users cause the most danger? While I mentioned that I have met people who are scared to cycle on our roads because of the danger posed by motor traffic, I have yet to hear of people who are scared to drive because of danger from cycle traffic.

One only has to read, hear or see news reports to be aware that there are daily instances of collisions and crashes involving motor vehicles on our roads and tragically some of these involve people who were walking or cycling and result in injury and sometimes death. The cost to society of these incidents and the time taken by our emergency services in responding is something that is rarely mentioned. However, it's a Catch-22: improving road behaviour needs police enforcement and improving our NHS needs more medical staff, yet so many of these people are trapped in trying to cope with the clear and present danger on our roads today.
Patricia Fort, Glasgow

Party line

THE first three letters of COP27 stand for Conference of Parties. No wonder Boris Johnson, with his known penchant for parties, was so keen to attend, though he may have got the wrong end of the stick.
Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews


HeraldScotland:

Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.