THERE was one important omission from the excellent article by Iain
Macwhirter (“SNP’s big success is making independence seem tangible”, The
Herald, May 4) since there was no mention of the impact of energy policy on
the 40 per cent of Scots living in fuel poverty – especially since MSPs
pledged to eliminate such poverty by the end of 2016.
The first impact arises from the Holyrood target of providing 100 per cent
of Scottish demand from renewables. Should your readers review the details
of their electricity costs supplied by Scottish electricity companies, they
will be aware that low users of their product consume 4270 units a year at
a cost of £657 prior to receiving any dual fuel discount. However, this
generation figure is kept low as 70 per cent of generation by Scottish
companies is obtained from low-cost carbon fuels and only 26 per cent from
highly subsidised renewables. The generation component will therefore
increase from the current figure of £295 a year to £555 a year, resulting
in a 40 per cent rise in electricity bills to £920 a year – a major blow to
those in fuel poverty.
The second impact on those in fuel poverty arises from the policy to phase
out the use of domestic gas over the next decade. As electricity is around
three times more expensive than gas this will mean another massive increase
of £2,000 a year in energy bills in Scotland unless English and Welsh
consumers are willing to subsidise the increase in energy costs.
The third blow to those in fuel poverty would arise from a Yes vote at a
second independence referendum. since Scottish consumers only cover eight
per cent of the green levy subsidy paid to the renewable sector. The demise
of the UK grid means that low-user consumers in Scotland who currently pay
£72 a year (11 per cent of electricity bills ) to the renewable subsidy
will be faced with an increase to £900 a year when English and Welsh
consumers no longer subsidise the electricity costs in Scotland.
79 Queen Street,
IN times of no wind, too much wind or excess sun, the owners of windfarms
are paid, from the public purse ,even when unproductive. In spite of this
the Scottish Government wants more wind turbines. It is ludicrous that
windfarms can have planning permission prior being granted connection to
the National Grid. Once built, permission for connection is inevitable: a
bigger worry is that a 10-turbine farm can be expanded almost ad lib.
The original application should include turbines, connection to the grid
and an estimate of the final size. Were there to be evasion of the latter,
further developments should be subject to appeal.
Dr Mary Macleod,
Taighe na Greine, Ardendrain, Kiltarlity, Inverness.