NATIONAL Grid Electricity System Operator, a private company, is about to be disenfranchised by Ofgem as a result of its dissatisfaction with its performance in ensuring the UK has the energy it requires throughout each day, replacing it with the forthcoming Future System Operator.

In its electricity supply summary for April (, "Great Britain’s monthly electricity stats”), ESO makes much of “achieving two new low carbon records” on April 5 and 15, for the latter trumpeting “the share of Great Britain’s electricity being generated by fossil fuels fell to a record low of 2.4%” , this occurring at 1pm that day.

Whilst this has gone viral in our national and technical press, before we swallow whole ESO’s triumphant message we should be aware that over the month of April the UK imported 14.7% of its electricity from our friends in Europe. From ESO’s own figures the UK exported only 1121 GWhours and imported 3353 GWhours, a significant element of which will have been generated from fossil fuels, but the UK does not include that in its fossil-sourced calculations, counting only the UK-generated portion. The vast majority of energy in Germany, for example, which routinely over years has supplied into the European grid and therefore onward to the UK, was, in 2023, 77.6% from fossil fuels ( >_node Production -German Federal Statistics Office and Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy 2023).

Whilst the ESO 2.4% is a low domestic level it is fleeting and we cannot claim such a figure unless we consider all sources of supply.

It’s worth noting as a counterbalance to the ESO announcement that the fleeting nature of renewables generation has again delivered significant UK output collapse on six days since the end of April, including four consecutive days this week with Scotland having to consequently import from England.

Even noting that one baseload 600MW nuclear reactor at Torness is on statutory outage until June 18, Scotland at 2pm (Saturday, May 4) was importing 2277MW from England, equivalent to the former output of Longannet, and the UK some 4450 MW from Europe, equivalent to 15.64 % of demand, our wind renewables producing only 9.69% of our needs at 2pm. On Tuesday at 2.30pm Scotland was importing 2318MW. On Wednesday at breakfast the UK was importing circa 16% of its needs, some four times the output of the entire UK windfleet at 4.03%, and gas back-up whilst plugging the gap all week was providing a further 39% of our needs. almost 10 times the wind output.

As I write today, Thursday (May 9) at 1.30pm, Scotland is back to importing from England to keep our lights on and the UK windfleet is providing only 5.13% at 1.5GW of our needs from an installed capacity equal to today's demand of 30GW. Unsurprisingly we will search in vain to find an ESO press release highlighting this week’s sobering reality.

DB Watson, Cumbernauld.

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• WHEN I turned on the TV news this morning (May 9) I was greeted by the shocking scene of hundreds of tonnes of peat sliding down a hillside in Shetland where a huge wind farm is under construction. Meanwhile the UK's land and sea have just emerged from calm weather where wind farms with an on-paper capacity of 23,076 MW were generating a paltry 373 MW at one point. Generation was less than 2,500 MW for four days.

Net zero is an apt description of our politicians' common sense.

Geoff Moore, Alness.

Give rehab staff a better deal

I WRITE to record my dismay and indeed disgust both at the shameful lack of recognition of staff working in hospital rehab and the ludicrously low salaries they earn. I have had recent personal experience of treatment in Edenview ward in Midlothian community hospital, Bonnyrigg and can vouch for the excellence of the care I received throughout my stay. Before this I had literally no idea of the quality and expertise of the work here or of the devotion of all concerned to their various roles. Luckily I have had many visitors who come to see the impressive building as much as to see me. Friends were delighted and impressed by the staff’s kindness and sensitivity to the needs of myself and my fellow patients.

Although this ward is an example of the NHS at its best, the staff need recognition, respect and suitable remuneration if they are to continue to provide service at the highest level. I urge the Scottish Government to acknowledge this problem and to act to improve the situation as quickly as possible.

Faith Pullin, Loanhead.

Knock the Met Tower down

WHAT’S so “iconic” about the Met Tower ("Multi-million-pound plans to transform Met Tower shelved", The Herald, May 9)? It’s a big fat impenetrable lump of sixties nothingness that glowers above George Square like an out of work King Kong.

I spent 40 years of my working life with it breathing down my neck. It doesn’t dominate the townscape, it mutilates it. Thanks to the stupidity of the developers and the gullibility of the council it will no doubt now stand empty and eyeless for years to come, or else it will be a huge advertising billboard to shame even Stefan King.

But this need not be a disappointment. It is actually a great opportunity to release the city centre from a ghastly eyesore: knock it down.

Donald Reid, Bearsden.

The Herald: The Met TowerThe Met Tower (Image: Osborne + Co)

Please, no more Seconds

I HAVE been not a little surprised to read in some Scottish newspapers references to Her Late Majesty as Queen Elizabeth II. I have even heard of suggestions for memorials to her in Scotland using this title.

Might I remind readers that, as the song says, "How can there be a Second when the First has never been?"

Some sensitivity is required here, as many Scots take a dim view of our history being drowned out by that of our larger neighbour. This was tacitly acknowledged during the monarch's lifetime, with letterboxes and telephone kiosks designed without the offending numeral. It was acceptable too for Scottish MPs to take their oath to simply "Queen Elizabeth and her heirs".

Omitting the number could not cause any confusion, as the late Queen was the only Elizabeth to have reigned over this part of the United Kingdom, and that fact should be reflected in our discourse and our monuments.

No numeral is required north of the Border; just "Queen Elizabeth"will suffice.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.