Herald letters today
MAY I add one small addition to the informed letters from Messrs Lindsay, Moore, Baird and Parkin (Letters, June 1)? Perhaps when Mr McDougall is admiring Whitelee from his bicycle he might like to consider that to date this wind farm has been paid more than £143 million to switch off. The Renewable Energy Foundation keeps a record of these constraints payments on its website, which I check on a regular basis. This ever-increasing sum comes from our bills.
The UK total to date is just over £982m, of which more than £911m is paid to Scottish wind farms by all in the UK. I wonder who will pay the Scottish share if Scotland ever goes independent?
Massive concrete bases are sunk into the ground, often deep peat which we are continually told to preserve, and access roads constructed across previously-untouched landscape. How many other industries are paid so much to do nothing while causing so much environmental damage?
Brenda Herrick, Thurso.
YOUR recent correspondence from climate change deniers and renewables supporters (Letters, May 31, June 1 & 2) ignores the fact that there are elephants in the rooms of both sides of the argument. The elephant for climate change deniers is that we do have to find some way of powering our economies/lives using methodologies that do not produce CO2. The renewables elephant is that renewable production of electricity is inevitably intermittent. So if we accept that climate change is a reality, and this seems to be the view of the vast majority of the informed public, a solution to the CO2 issue needs to be found.
There are two possible solutions at present, nuclear fission and renewables. The public appetite for nuclear power seems to be limited, which leaves us with renewables. So, rather than forever carping about the problems with renewables we need to put our efforts into overcoming the issues. Are there solutions? Of course there are and they include pumped storage systems, batteries, electrolysis to produce hydrogen and, I am sure, many other technologies that will be developed with appropriate funding.
Whether the carpers and climate deniers like it or not things have to change and, with suitable investment and imagination we will be able to change things with as little disruption as possible.
John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus.
MALCOM Parkin (Letters, June 1) asks how the current energy position in UK has come about.
One explanation I would suggest is that the financialisation of the economy since the 1970s has meant that the products of our education system have ended up as bean counters rather than skilled in the sciences of Newton and Kelvin.
On this planet perpetual motion is impossible. Energy engineering that ignores the laws of thermodynamics is likewise highly problematic. Morag Watson (Letters, May 31) would do well reconsider her claims with these two facts in mind.
Every wind turbine has cost much in carbon dioxide emissions in its manufacture, transportation and erection. Every “hydrogen generator” will require to be powered indirectly by fossil fuels. The “space exploration” activities much lauded by Struan Stevenson (“March of the wind farms is destroying Scotland’s beauty – but we can stop it”, The Herald, May 27) are further examples of energy blindness and consequent pollution.
Every solar panel has required fossil fuels in manufacture. Every electric car battery requires energy-extractive activities in its components and its production.The infrastructure to charge the vehicles is far from carbon-free.
The words of Nate Hagens (Post Carbon Institute, USA) explain the world energy predicament in a brilliant analogy: “Our culture is energy blind. We draw down the principle and consider it the interest.”
These are words which the economic fraternity would do well to consider after the 50 years when rapidly rising energy use and ever more energy absorbed in energy extraction has been propped up by a broken financial model.
John Caldwell, Bothwell.
YOUR not-infrequent publication of letters from anthropogenic global warming contrarians reminds me of the criticism the BBC was subjected to in relation to its news items or documentaries on climate change. In the interests of “balance” it would interview for instance Nigel Lawson, known for his determination to contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence.
However, the evidence was so conclusive, being accepted by rational scientific, governmental, public (and now judicial: “Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions”, The Herald May 26) opinion that the BBC stopped giving knee-jerk screen-time to Lord Lawson and his likes and their half-baked beliefs.
It would unfortunately be inappropriate to suggest that the Letters Editor adopt a similar attitude. He would get into terrible trouble if he did so; the pages would be full of cries of “eco-fascism”, “slippery slopes” and accusations of stifling free speech in spite of the debate being over.
And so having made my point I find myself left with the only option of suggesting to your readers that they reject the contrarians’ opinions and listen instead to those of the 97 per cent of actively-publishing climate scientists who agree that humans are causing global warming.
John Milne, Uddingston.
Time for energy policy inquiry
ONCE again the right-hand side of your Letters Pages (June 1) is filled
with convincing concerns about the inability in the future of renewables
being able to supply the country’s energy needs 24/7 in the absence of the
current backup of nuclear and/or gas or coal-fired generation. The
contribution from Scottish Renewables policy director Morag Watson
(Letters, May 31) is criticised as disingenuous, even misleading, and is
anything but reassuring. It begs the question: if the intention is to rely
on renewables are we in danger of sleepwalking towards an age of regular
blackouts, or are we to rely on users having to pay for importing expensive
electricity generated presumably from the sources we have abandoned?
Surely these concerns are so serious that it is time for a public inquiry
into the extent the Scottish Government intends how the county’s future
energy needs can reasonably be expected to be met, particularly when
renewables inevitably cannot meet the demand?
Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.
Turbines are not green
ALLAN McDougall (Letters, June 1) sees wind turbines spinning,
intermittently, as non-polluting, but consideration of the whole truth
tells a very different story which is not at all “green”.
Their manufacture, overseas, and installation not only release much CO2 but
demand lithium and rare earths from a near monopoly under Chinese control,
using labour by youngsters working in a filthy, hazardous environment.
In operation, they depend on large amounts of oil for lubrication and their
ultimate demolition. Their huge, non-recyclable blades have to go to landfill.
Along with their unpredictable, inconstant electricity generation, wind
turbines represent a very poor investment of our increasingly scarce
Charles Wardrop, Perth.
The following letter was submitted but not published. I am circulating it
for the interesting content.
I would expect nothing but unwavering support for the excessive number of
turbines in East Renfrewshire (Sorry but I like turbines, Herald letters 1
June) from a person who was involved in the Neilston Development Trust
which was responsible, in collaboration with a commercial developer for the
construction of a wind farm which is barely visible from their own village
but instead looms menacingly over the neighbouring village of Uplawmoor.
This is the same wind farm which was sold on to a London listed investment
company after only four years cutting the anticipated income for Neilston
by 80%. Uplawmoor received no recompense for the degradation of their
I’m sure as he cycles around the area, Mr McDougall is greatly relieved
that he cannot see the turbines from his own house in Neilston, or hear
The buzzards he mentions have certainly increased in number along with
predators such as foxes, largely due to the wind kill on offer around the
turbines but with the recent application for a new mega turbine with blades
so long that the tip will only clear the ground by 9m, (the first of its
kind in the UK) the buzzards won’t last long either. The RSPB and Nature
Scot have confirmed that this is a height at which even more species of
birds fly and is likely to increase the chances of strike. Unfortunately
due to cut backs, they are now only able to comment on wind turbine
applications within protected areas or which concern protected
species. It’s called effective gagging of our statutory consultees.
Aileen Jackson

SAS Volunteer

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