Readers' letters: Offshore wind critics missing the point

Scotland has a golden opportunity to develop an offshore wind energy industry (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Scotland has a golden opportunity to develop an offshore wind energy industry (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scotland has a golden opportunity to develop an offshore wind energy industry (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Critics of the Scottish Offshore Wind Auction should stop to consider the reasons for claims that it was sold on the cheap, with successful bids gong to overseas multi nationals.

Not least as energy policy is reserved to Westminster and the Scottish Government doesn’t have the ability to borrow the huge sums that would be required to establish a Scottish National Energy Company.

Ofcom’s policy of penalising Scottish renewables with the highest grid connection charges in Europe is a significant factor in the price achieved.

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And the failure of successive Westminster governments, including 13 years of Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, to re-establish a national energy company or to reinvest much of the £350 billion they earned from Scottish oil and gas revenues into Scottish renewable manufacturing or modernising ship building explains why the bids were dominated by overseas operators.

Scotland is already a net exporter of gas and electricity and the electricity produced by the winning bidders could power more than three times as much as Scotland could use.

It is estimated that the winning bidders will create £25 billion worth of investment with thousands of jobs and new energy hubs established in Aberdeen and Leith.

At $88 a barrel, Brent Crude is currently at its highest level since 2014, but this will be of little benefit to the UK government or Scottish consumers when compared to Norway.

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Norway did not reduce taxes for oil and gas companies and has an aid package of £700m to cover half of household energy bills for the December to March winter period, unlike the UK.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

Helping education division to persist

Seems there are plans to build a so-called multi-school Winchburgh campus in West Lothian.

This will “join” two secondary schools, one denominational and one non-denominational and a denominational primary.

It seems that despite plans to share a gym, the non-denominational school will be accessed from a new entrance at the west of the site and the two denominational schools from crossroads at the east end. Is this a “step in the right direction” for sectarianism in Scotland or the enshrining of separation under one roof?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.

Alarm at costs of home fire alarms

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The legislation due to come into force at the start of next month requires all homes in Scotland to be fitted with “interlinked fire alarms with a smoke alarm in every room, hallway and landing.”

The Scottish Government reckons that this will cost around £220 per home, while Labour claims it will often cost much more.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison declares the measure will be implemented without further delay, so we shall have to add this to our stretched home budgets.

It appears this legislation was due last year but delayed by Covid. I must have blinked when it was first announced because today is the first I have heard of it. I wonder how many more homeowners have been or are yet to get this surprise.

Archie Pacey, Edinburgh.

SNP’s telly folly

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At a time of pandemic, economic dislocation, worries over education and cuts in local government, the SNP TV broadcast the other evening was about the constitution and the 2014 referendum. Talk about taking your eye off the ball!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness.

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