Confusion over National Grid
I NOTE the report by Martin Williams on the economic implications of
offshore wind development in the seas around Scotland. I am a retired
senior manager from the electricity networks industry and was intensively
involved in the commercial restructuring of the British grid system at the
time of privatisation around 1990. This allows me, from a well-informed
position, to suggest that your reporter needs to add some more depth to his
wide range of news topics. He talks about the National Grid, suggesting
that this is a London-based company which, since privatisation, has owned
all the assets of the British Grid network.
The term National Grid was in use for many years before privatisation as a
generic reference to the interconnected power systems of England, Scotland
and Wales. At the time of privatisation the grid was owned in England and
Wales by the CEGB and in Scotland by the SSEB and NSHEB. Your reporter is a
victim of the residual confusion caused by the decision, strenuously
opposed by myself and others at the time, to allow the privatised successor
to the CEGB to style itself National Grid plc although it had no
jurisdiction over Scotland. The grid in Scotland today is owned by the
network divisions of ScottishPower and Scottish & Southern and all
regulated revenues from charges for grid access and use are passed through
to these businesses, although operational control of the entire
interconnected system is now performed by National Grid plc.
Willie Maclean, Milngavie.
Too high a price to pay
MARGARET Forbes (Letters, January 23) is very sincere in her green crusade
against anyone who dares to suggest that the UK’s expensive policy to reach
Net Zero by 2050 is pointless whilst other nations break their promises.
The cost of the UK’s Net Zero will be well-over £1.5 trillion for the UK’s
1.13 per cent of global emissions. She makes pleas about our peat bogs:
every turbine built on peat land has displaced peat with 30,000 tons of
She is rightly concerned with nature but turbines mince up tens of
thousands of birds and bats every year.
She appears to have faith in Friends of the Earth (FoE) but the Advertising
Standards Authority (ASA) ordered FoE to remove unsubstantiated,
scaremongering anti-fracking posters which claimed that the chemicals used
in fracking caused cancer and contaminated water supplies.
With this latest fuel crisis countries are digging up and burning more
coal. China needs it to feed its 1,082 coal-fired generators and those
under construction. Ms Forbes will also be aware that at COP26 China and
India forced through that coal would be “phased down” not “phased out”.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow.
I BEGIN with the assumption that Margaret Forbes approves of wind farms. In
this context it is therefore odd that she has pleaded over the years for
the protection of insects, peat bogs and forests.
A study published by Christian Voigt in January 2021 estimates that 1.2
trillion insects are killed by German onshore wind turbines annually. It is
also well-documented that peat bogs have been ripped up, particularly in
Scotland and Wales, to make room for wind turbines and their access tracks.
For the same reason thousands of trees have been felled, and this is
well-documented in countries like Germany, the US and UK.
It seems we have to destroy the planet to save it.
Geoff Moore, Alness
I AGREE with Margaret Forbes that the young hold the key to climate change
action. They need to know about new technologies, so tearing up peat for
the sake of wind turbines is a definite no-no. We need to invest in new
nuclear power technologies like those developed by Rolls-Royce which are a
tenth the size of Hunterston B, which closed recently after 46 years of
supplying electricity to 1.7 million households.
Forests are being harvested for wood chips and pellets for biomass boilers.
Reducing plastics is a good idea also but we still need oil for paints,
medicines, plastics and fuels.
Michael Baird, Bonar Bridge.

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