IT was apposite that the letter from Dave and Kathryn Gordon was published on the same day as Patrick Harvie’s opinion piece (“Greens for go in battle against greenhouse gas emmisions”, The Herald, December 6).

Whilst I share some of their concerns, I am not as pessimistic about how secure Scotland’s renewable energy sources are. Where I do agree is what feels like the one-trick pony solution we are adopting at the moment; that is, wind. It undoubtedly has a part to play but as, they point out, it isn’t 100 per cent reliable.

To solve that, a storage solution for wind-produced electricity is necessary. I do not believe batteries provide the answer (they have their own environmental consequences).

Patrick Harvie made the salient point about the race to the moon being declared before the technology was ready. If we focus in a similar way we can provide the technology to meet our energy needs from a myriad of sources (not to mention energy use reduction schemes).

They underplay the potential of tidal energy. Around the shores of Scotland there is potential to generate enough power to feed tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of homes. And then there is that much overlooked resource: hydrogen, a clean-burning fuel that can be produced from water (no security issues there as far as Scotland is concerned).

We should be developing hydrogen as a source of fuel for a number of reasons. First, we have a hard job persuading people to change their habits radically in the short space of time we have left before reaching the climate’s tipping point. Development of hydrogen would help us ease people into a low-emission economy more promptly by encouragement rather than sanction.

Secondly, the infrastructure is there if we put our minds to the engineering required to change homes from burning gas (we managed it when we switched to natural gas) and our cars from burning petrol (it was done with liquefied petroleum gas). As far as cars are concerned, the infrastructure is potentially there in the many thousands of filling station forecourts.

A subsidy to convert these facilities would help. It is ridiculous to be thinking of installing the virgin infrastructure necessary to make electric cars viable when these filling stations are already in existence. The obsession with electric cars is leading us right up a cul-de-sac.

Thirdly, there is the potential to avoid the unemployment that the switch from a carbon-based economy might cause. The large-scale refineries and already redundant power stations (Hunterston and Dounreay perhaps?) could be converted or replaced with hydrogen production plants (providing employment for former oil workers?). How satisfying it would be to think, when I look out of my window and see the Ineos plant flaring away, that the product is water and not carbon dioxide.

Lastly, the production of hydrogen could be powered by wind when it is available, thus storing the energy in a manageable, relatively environmentally friendly form. It is already being done on a small scale on Orkney, where excess wind-produced electricity is used to produce hydrogen which is stored.

So, renewable energy sources have the potential to be as secure and plentiful as we could hope.

Tides and water are resources we in Scotland have plenty of and no one is likely to appropriate their potential for energy. Ask King Canute.

William Thomson,

25 Lithgow Place, Denny.