ANDY Cartwright (Letters, November 14) makes the interesting, but fairly obvious, observation that the wind does not always blow. From this he decides that renewable energy produced by wind farms is too unreliable. He follows up his argument with a fallacious comment about the rate of increase in wind turbine installations.

On the first point, the crucial question is, given the rate of temperature increase of the Earth, can your correspondent come up with any viable solutions? If not then his observation is not helpful and, even if it were, there are plenty of ideas he is missing. Battery storage, pumped storage hydro systems and even falling weights down mine shafts can be used to store the wind power generated during times of excess. And then there is the fuel of the future, hydrogen.

Mr Cartwright would, I am sure, say that battery storage is not an option but, for example, I have a 62kwh battery in my car. If I could access this it would run my house for four or five days and, don’t forget, all new cars will be electric by 2030. All will contain high-capacity batteries. Plenty of storage capacity there. If I do need transport, and my battery is low, then improved public transport, or a replacement battery (systems are being developed), would solve the problem.

Now to Mr Cartwright’s second point, the number of turbines that can be installed each year. To get his figure your correspondent adds up the number of turbines installed in the last 22 years and divides the number by 22. Now the rate of turbine installation is increasing exponentially so an average value means nothing. To illustrate this point, consider a sequence going 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, an exponential sequence. The next value is 64 but, if you use Mr Cartwright’s incorrect maths the answer would be 44.5, the sum the average of the five numbers listed plus 32, the final number in the sequence. This is obviously a) incorrect and b) a gross underestimate.

So, Mr Cartwright, if you are going to knock the introduction of wind farms as part of the solution to climate change then a) present an alternative system and b) please get your maths correct.
John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus

Rugby spoiled by beer boors

I WAS very fortunate to have two tickets to the Scotland v New Zealand rugby at Murrayfield Stadium on Saturday – a game to look forward to with one of the best teams in world rugby. However, I had not realised that I would be sitting in the middle of a beer garden in the centre of the West Stand.

We had an aisle seat and the next seat in. For the first 10 minutes of the match there continued to be a steady procession of people arriving, invariably with a carton containing four tins of Tennents lager looking for their seats. The row of people in front of us (about a group of six) continued, one by one, to go out and get more beers during the first half and of course they all had to stand up and some just stood in the aisle and not in their seats. They were asked regularly to sit down but found the whole episode much to their amusement. Further, after such consumption, biology kicks in and they need to leave their seats yet again.

I estimate that we were lucky if we saw 10 minutes of rugby in the first half without interrupted views. I would also mention the beer spilled down the jackets of people in rows in front when returning with their cartons and where their balance was failing.

It became so unpleasant (never mind the language) that we left at half time. The Scottish Rugby Union’s quest for cash via alcohol sales is fast becoming to the detriment of the regular spectator who has no desire to drink themselves into oblivion.
Richard Allison, Edinburgh

BBC ignoring its guidelines

LESLEY Mackiggan (Letters, November 11) speaks for many us in deploring the abysmal standards of articulation so prevalent in all of the broadcast media nowadays. Unlike Ms Mackiggan, I do have impaired hearing, which hugely exacerbates the difficulties involved. I resigned myself years ago to accepting that I simply cannot hope to decipher the incomprehensible drivel gabbled at top speed by most broadcasters, or the extraneous and gratuitous cacophony of noise that ruins almost all TV dramas and documentaries. My brain, unfortunately, persists in trying to listen and the effort involved can be exhausting.

Subtitles are essential but not all that reliable. Sometimes, distractingly, they are behind, or even ahead of, the spoken voice. More tellingly, subtitles are quite often incorrect, which suggests to me that even the subtitlers have not been able to understand what has been said.

The BBC has drawn up excellent editorial guidelines for programme makers, designed to address the difficulties of people with hearing problems. Regrettably, those guidelines are almost universally ignored and, as I established from a Freedom of Information request some years ago, the BBC does not in any way seek to enforce or monitor their application.

But credit where it is due. From the BBC’s dungheap of dismal delivery one brilliant diamond shines brightly – Inverness broadcaster Kirsteen MacDonald. Her presentation is a model of flawless clarity and articulation which, even with my impaired hearing, I hear perfectly every time. Almost certainly her Gaelic credentials play a large part in her unsurpassable diction. Her colleagues would do well to learn from her example.
Iain Stuart, Glasgow

Mulling over the charts

BEING a Scottish national paper, I was a bit surprised that Wings' and Campbeltown Pipe Band's Mull of Kintyre did not feature in your "Notable singles from each decade ..." feature (The Herald, November 14).

It was the second-best selling single in the country in the 1970s behind Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and sold almost 2.1m copies. It is the fourth-highest selling single of all time and this month is the 45th anniversary of its release. Surely worth a mention in the "bubbling under" category, no?
James Miller, Glasgow

Knickers to all that

ALL this talk of pulleys (Letters, November 9, 10, 11 & 12) reminded me that when I lived in Garrowhill for many years, I mostly dried our washing on the outside lines in the garden, but never the undergarments of my husband and myself – these always went on the pulley in the kitchen. My son, visiting one day, looked up and said: "It's like the geriatric department of Ann Summers in here".
Mary Duncan, East Kilbride


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