Published: 06/10/2011 23:59 - Updated: 06/10/2011 23:57

How will we bridge the energy gap?

SIR - Windfarms really do ruffle feathers!

It is completely nave for Rob Gibson to believe the only reason to oppose wind energy is loss of amenity (NT 9th September "MSP accuses anti-wind farm campaigners of being selfish").

Most people consider the reliability of the electricity supply and its rising annual cost are very important factors.

Wind turbines are one of the most expensive technologies available for generating electricity and provide the least consistent output.

The Scottish Government has a target of generating all electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Is this a realistic target and what will the service look like in 2020?

In 2002 the Labour Government introduced the complex Renewable Obligation (Scotland) scheme, an expensive subsidy mechanism to encourage renewable electricity generation. In 2009-10 the effective cost to the consumer was a total of £1.1 billion, according to the industry regulator Ofgem in its RO Annual Report. There is no obligation to use the subsidy to develop the "basket of renewable technologies" quoted by politicians as essential to the future energy mix; it can be passed directly to shareholders.

If the Scottish Government secures its target of 100 per cent renewable generation by 2020 and the RO (Scotland) scheme remains in operation, the subsidy will apply to all electricity generated. What impact will this have on fuel poverty in Scotland?

The SNP manifesto has no policy for ensuring security of electricity supply in Scotland over the next 15 years. This time period is significant. By 2023 between 3300MW and 5600MW of generating capacity will be lost as three

four major power stations are scheduled to close, according to the Association of Electricity Producers UK.

One international energy analyst has written, "The energy aspirations of [UK] politicians are incoherent and technically illiterate" and "[power stations due for closure] simply cannot be replaced by the equivalent - or even much greater - wind power capacity, (even if it could be built, which is doubtful), is widely recognized in most senior echelons of the UK's financial, manufacturing and engineering companies". Perhaps, given the 2020 target, this is more applicable in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.

Currently 2MW wind turbines are being erected at Gordonbush. To match the installed capacity of these power stations would require about 2800 similar turbines; to replace the actual electricity output would require at least 8000. The footprint of these turbines and associated pylons would be massive.

The future security of electricity supply for Scotland is at risk through unachievable policies and targets for renewable technologies. At the same time there is no alternative policy in place for the replacement of electricity output from power stations scheduled to close.

Maintaining an electricity supply for the people of Scotland is infinitely more complex than persuading people to accept wind turbines in locations determined by the wind industry. As a member of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Gibson should make himself aware of all aspects of electricity supply and demonstrate to his constituents how Scotland's energy resources will be managed to bridge the expected energy gap - Allan J Tubb, 20 Shore Street, Golspie.

< Back


Reddit Facebook Digg Twitter Bebo