Readers' letters: Scotland losing out on energy earnings

Angus Robertson (January 18) praises the ScotWind auction of 24 GigaWatts of offshore wind capacity that netted the Scottish Government a one-off payment of £699 million, two-thirds less than the £890 million predicted for 10 GigaWatts.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 21st January 2022, 7:00 am

After Nicola Sturgeon walked back her 2017 pledge to establish a Scottish public energy company, Scotland’s offshore wind resources, a quarter of Europe’s, have, like our oil and gas resources, ended up in private hands. Not a single company is Scottish owned and many are foreign.

Under the current arrangement, Scotland will receive just £60-90 million in annual fees. Contrast this with a permanent annual income of £5.5 billion if we controlled our own resources.

Norway invested its oil and gas revenues in the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, worth over $1.3 trillion, and is now investing in renewable energy infra-structure. The fund ensures Norway's natural resource wealth benefits both current and future generations.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

As Alba MP Kenny MacAskill put it, “It will be cold comfort to Scottish pensioners shivering in their homes facing vast fuel bills to know that the Scottish Government has given away so much of the green power of the future for so little in return.”

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

More hydro could aid our energy needs

Pumped storage hydro, the answer to much of Scotland's electricity needs, is being neglected.

There are a good number of these very large systems which are carbon neutral; can run all the time and can start up almost instantaneously.

Many seem unaware of the situation, perhaps because there seems to be a campaign to sideline/ignore/suppress the existence of this green system. Some of the large ones like Cruachan may only run for five minutes in a day to fill in gaps in supplies generated by nuclear, coal, oil, gas or biomass.

These should be put to active use all the time and available to the people of Scotland, rather than having to pay to go on the grid.

There are many smaller hydro schemes which have deliberately understated their capacity to get the subsidy for schemes producing less than a certain figure. These should work at their proper capacity all the time.

There is also the option of much more water power with the small (2 metre) 'screws' - which do not affect fish - in rivers. This would be fine for local use.

Since we also have masses of tidal, off-shore and on-shore potential - the most wind and greatest tidal range in most of Europe - a proper energy strategy would be able to phase out all the other fossil fuel very quickly, and it would cost much less for customers, as well as the planet .

Susan FG Forde, Scotlandwell.

Pay for cycle paths

Roy Reynolds suggests making the disused Powderhall to Portobello rail line into a cycle track. (Letters, 19 January).

Seems a good idea, but who is going to pay for it? There are so many specialist facilities for cyclists throughout Scotland that they should be paying towards them and not Edinburgh's council tax payers and council tax payers throughout Scotland.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Home working bills

At work the employer pays for heating and electricity used. When working from home the worker pays.

Is the First Minister going to ask employers to pay the 'home workers' extra costs, especially with the steep rises in bills many are facing?

Elizabeth Hands, Armadale.

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription. Click on this link for more information.