I WAS so saddened to read about the latest report and analysis from SSEN, which is part of the SSE Group (“North of Scotland cash call to meet net-zero targets”, The Herald, May 12). What is being called for is further destruction of our pristine landscapes with more unreliable giant wind turbines and grid upgrades as hideous and dominating as the Beauly to Denny. Once-pleasant train journeys from the Highlands marvelling at our stunning environment are now spent desperately trying to not look out of the window as numerous gigantic alien structures loom menacingly out of once-treasured landscapes.
Such monstrous industrialisation is needed because wind energy is erratic and can be volatile. The grid capacity has to be able to cope with the sometimes-violent surges of electricity from wind turbines that are neither predictable nor easily manageable.
Have these developers no souls? Do they not appreciate that we need to preserve unspoilt places for the environment and for our own health?
Scotland is famous the world over for its spectacular views and sense of wildness that is easily accessible by so many. Finding a vista without turbines or the ever-increasing numbers of pylons and transmission lines that are needed to service them is becoming increasingly difficult.
Like all developers SSE is looking out for itself and its shareholders. There is no evidence that wind power will change what the climate does or really help achieve net zero or reduce our bills. It will certainly never give us energy security, as even a million turbines will produce zilch if the wind doesn’t blow. Building even more is nonsensical when the ones we have now produce excess in times of low demand and we have to spend millions switching them off and compensating the operator more than if they were generating. Viable storage is an expensive pipe dream and we have spent, and are still spending, billions of pounds of our money chasing green unicorns. It is time to stop fantasising and get real. We need reliable and affordable energy and the factoid that wind is getting cheaper belies the truth. The current Contracts for Difference loophole that wind operators are exploiting to our detriment is going to cost us half a billion pounds for just one wind farm and SSE wants more? Of course it does. This is not about saving the planet, this is about saving its profits.
Scotland has done enough for electricity production. If the thousands of turbines we have now are not solving the problem of affordable reliable energy then surely even the unresearched can understand we should be investing in something else that doesn’t tear up the environment, decimate wildlife, divide our communities or threaten our vital tourism industry. If the Scottish Government actually cared about its people it would stop listening to those with massive vested interests and instead to the independent engineers and economists who warned more than a decade ago that going headlong down the windy path would be a catastrophic and expensive mistake.
Lyndsey Ward, Beauly
APPROACH TO ENERGY IS SHORT-SIGHTED
IT has been six months since the end of COP26. Since then we have moved from being told that oil is an out of date “stranded asset” with no future potential to Government ministers menacingly requesting that multinational companies increase their investments in North Sea production.
The lifespan of oil and gas projects is measured in decades but the short-sightedness of our foolhardy approach to energy is measured in increasingly expensive bills. Sadly it is those with the least ability to pay who will shoulder the burden of virtue-chasing, feel-good policy decisions.
Tom Walker, Loanhead.