Brian Wilson (“Hydro can be a force for good again”, Scotsman, 26 June) champions the Loch Awe pumped storage facility for its green credentials and says that the new owners – Drax – are planning to double the capacity of the site. Pumped storage exchanges high-price peak energy for marginal cost off-peak energy, and provides an all-year supply.
This, however, is only part of the proposals to eliminate the greenhouse gases which endanger the lives of every living organism on the planet.
The big question for individuals is domestic and commercial heating, and peak electricity generating capacity.
As an example of going all-electric, a house using 5,000 Kwh of electricity, 25,000kwh of gas, and 500 litres of gas oil per annum, would see their energy costs rise from £ 2,200 to £4,600, as well as £40,000 for an electric car, and £10,000 for a replacement central heating system. The current price of electricity is five times the price of gas per Kwh.
The downside of the government’s targets to go all electric are that the electricity transmission system will not cope and will require to be at least triple the current grid capacity.
Aso a small wind farm of 30 turbines needs 28,000 tons of iron ore, 45,000 tons of concrete and 900 tons of fibre glass, all of which use copious quantities of energy in their manufacture.
In Chile, which produces much of the lithium for EV batteries, the process demands tons of water to produce one ton of the metal, and the inhabitants have to endure water shortages and the problems of toxic waste.
These stark figures lead us to one impelling fact – that we all need to reduce our energy demand in order to allow the planet to breathe, even if this implies a major reduction in our living standards.
James Macintyre, Linlithgow, West Lothian

SAS Volunteer

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