IN your report on its Employment Trends and Business Confidence Study, Scottish Renewables was joined by WWF and yet again expounded their demonstrably erroneous assertion that “onshore wind and solar are the two cheapest forms of electricity” (“Warning over jobs in renewables”, The Herald, March 4).

May I direct these groups to the recent House of Lords Price of Power… report issued following probably the widest related consultation to date in the UK which concluded that “electricity generated from fossil fuels has always been, and remains, cheaper than electricity generated by renewable sources. Renewables generation requires some sort of subsidy in order to be competitive”.

May I further direct them to the Aris/Gibson modelling of comparative energy costs which originated in 2011 and was updated in 2016. This estimates that the overall range of costs for renewables is £165-£463/MWh whereas that for nuclear and Closed Cycle Gas Turbines is £41-£106/MWh. This from two of the most experienced power systems engineers in the country reflecting long practice in such financial modelling.

These estimates address all of the related costs including wind and solar back-up generation, system transmission and grid integration costs, nuclear on-site waste storage, decommissioning, waste removal and long term storage. They also recognised the low output of wind farms, their 25-year operating life and the therefore high annual capital costs repayments, compared with the 85% output and 50 year plus lifetime of nuclear.

The relevant papers and spreadsheets can be accessed from the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders website.

Scottish Renewables and WWF must be aware of these reports but presumably have chosen to ignore them. Surprising- as Scottish Renewables contributed to the Lords review.


Saviskaill, Langdales Avenue, Cumbernauld.

THE claim by Iain Macwhirter that sovereignty will be the key question of the second independence referedum (“Sovereignty likely to be the currency of the next debate”, The Herald, March 9) overlooks the impact of energy costs in an independent Scotland. Whilst a large number of Scots are familiar with the fact that reducing the deficit by £10 billion a year to meet the three per cent of GDP criteria is equivalent to a basic rate of tax of 40p in the pound, very few address the problem should 92 per cent of Scottish renewable levies not be subsidised by English and Welsh consumers.

Once there is no longer a UK grid, Scots will face paying 100 per cent of the Feed-in Tariffs levy, the Renewable Heat Incentive levy, the Renewables Obligation Cerificate levy, the Constraint Payment levy and the costs of importing electricity if high pressure results in minimum output from renewables. This results in a worst case scenario cost of around £15 billion a year or an annual £6,000 increase in energy bills for Scottish consumers.

However, these are not the only costs in the event of the demise of the UK grid system. ScottishPower customers pay just over £40 per MW-hour for the generation cost of their electricity. The Holyrood energy policy means that 12,000 MW of wind turbines will supply 100 per cent of Scottish demand by 2020. resulting in consumers facing wind turbine output cost of around £130 pounds per MW hour. This would double electricity bills in Scotland and put high use energy consumers at an economic disadvantage compared to their rUK competitors.

Perhaps a detailed assessment of energy costs arising from demise of the UK grid should be carried out by Parliament instead of appointing a team to redefine fuel poverty, thus papering over the failure of MSPs to eliminate such poverty.

Ian Moir,

79 Queen Street, Castle Douglas.