IT is reported that it has been a good year for the generation in Scotland
of renewable energy (“A record year for energy from renewable sources”, The
Herald, December 21). Paul Wheelhouse, our Minister for Energy,
Connectivity and the Islands since all of June this year, erstwhile
Minister for Environment and Climate Change 2012-2014, Minister for
Community Safety and Legal Affairs 2014-2016, and Minister for Business,
Innovation and Energy 2016-2018, announced that “we are working hard to
ensure that the correct strategic decisions are taken”.
My question for our new minister is: given that the Government has no
powers of direction with regard to the provision and location of new power
stations, what strategic thinking is being applied in the Scottish
Government as to how Scotland’s energy is to be supplied in the future when
the wind is not blowing and Hunterston B (estimated closure 2023) and
Torness (estimated closure 2030) have ceased to operate? This may not be of
great moment to Mr Wheelhouse since two years appears to be his time in
each ministerial office which he has held so far. However, the question
posed will not go away.
Ian W Thomson,
38 Kirkintilloch Road, Lenzie.
I STRONGLY appreciated the Agenda item by Iain Macleod of the Institute of
Engineers in Scotland (“We need a Bletchley Park for energy”, The Herald,
December 20) about the impending crisis in the security of our national
electricity grid, and I commend The Herald for giving focus to this
crucially important matter. Objectively and without political comment, Mr
Macleod has set out very clearly the the technical concerns of the experts
in the Scottish engineering fraternity about the impact that increasing
inputs of renewable energy have on the stability of the grid, and the
growing threat of major and prolonged power failures. The implications of
this are, of course, potentially catastrophic for the operation of
Scotland’s entire social and economic structures.
The commendable desire to reduce carbon emissions has led to a massive
increase in renewable energy schemes which are intrinsically intermittent
and undependable. Traditionally secure sources, from coal fired and nuclear
power plants, are being closed down, and insufficient attention given to
maintaining secure and affordable base load supplies. The subject is
technically complex and so far has been of very limited interest to
politicians, the media and general public.
Our society faces many destabilising threats and anxieties just now, but
this one ranks very high amongst them. These issues need to be addressed
promptly and thoroughly, or our lights will go out for very long periods.
We must listen to the engineers – they know what they are talking about.
David Henderson,
9 Beaufort Road, Inverness.



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