The Scotsman (Letters)
Published on the 05 October
Lady Clark of Calton’s landmark ruling, casting doubt on the legality of the current wind-farm development process, is a welcome setback for Alex Salmond’s ambitions to blanket Scotland with bleak, industrial wind factories (your report, 3 October).
Her decision justifies the view of many activists that the planning process for wind farms skirts the edges of legal propriety. By calling for an electricity-generating licence from Ofgem before developments are approved, as well as a better awareness of the risks turbines pose to birdlife, the courts seems finally to be getting a better handle on the legal ambiguities around wind energy development.
For too long, turbine tyrants have run roughshod over this country. Though the Scottish Government has indicated it will appeal Lady Clark’s decision, it is my hope that this ruling provides the impetus to rein in the unbridled growth in wind farms we have seen in recent years.
STRUAN STEVENSON MEP
Scottish Renewables’ lobbyist and propagandist Niall Stuart’s article on renewable energy (“Renewable energy can deliver the goods”, 3 October) contains the usual hype and misinformation we have come to expect.
Some glaring misrepresentations need to be pointed out.
The 10Mte (megatonne) of carbon dioxide notionally displaced by renewables in Scotland cannot represent “99 per cent of emissions from every car etc journey”. This amount is about 2 per cent of total UK emissions of which about one quarter are due to transport. The actual figure is thus less than 10 per cent.
Renewables do not account for “40 per cent of the total demand for power” but only of the demand for electricity in Scotland only. This is a very misleading statement as electricity is a minor part of total energy demand. For example, according to Ofgem, in 2011 median domestic energy use was 20 per cent from electricity and nearly 80 per cent from gas.
It is nonsense to say that “we” are “undisputed champions” of wave and tidal energy when there is no commercial scale tidal installation in the UK.
France has had one since 1966, South Korea opened a 250MW scheme in 2011 and has plans for up 2.4GW. David JC MacKay’s excellent online book shows by simple calculations that wave power is a total non-starter by any sensible assessment.
The debate on renewables – by which I mean onshore wind as this is the only technology which will actually deliver in the immediate future – is now very clearly polarised between those who profit, either economically or politically, from it and those who suffer loss of amenity and life savings. Greed and ambition will keep the former pushing for more turbines anywhere.
(PROF) Jack W Ponton
Scientific Alliance Scotland
North St David Street
Many thanks to Tom Peterkin for informing the public of the Shetland bombshell (3 October).
At a judicial review of the Shetland wind farm Lady Clark of Calton said the Shetland wind farm application was not competent because Viking Energy did not have a licence under the 1989 Electricity Act.
Looking at the list of licensees on the Ofgem website and the exempted persons on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website it is hard to see a name operating in Scotland.
How many wind farms have been erected or are going through planning without the developers having a licence? I suspect very many are illegal. This primary UK legislation has been overlooked.
There is now a legal argument as to whether the 1989 Electricity Act just applies to Section 36 and 37 wind farms which go straight to government or whether it applies to all wind farms over 10MW decided by local councils. The wording seems quite clear to me and I would not like to be the Scottish Government’s lawyer.
Presumably to avoid liabilities, companies often form a new company for each wind farm. There have also been a lot of people jumping on this lucrative, subsidy-ridden bandwagon.
In order to protect the public, I hope Ofgem and DECC will do a rigorous scrutiny of those who will no doubt be queuing up for licences. What of the wind farms built illegally?
Niall Stuart of Scottish Renewables (Friends of The Scotsman, 3 October) showed the true colours of the renewable energy sector when he refers to our beautiful countryside as “empty land”.
While to many Scots our wild landscape is there to be filled with sublime views populated by rare birds and wild animals he sees it as a wasteland to be filled with ugly wind farms and biomass factories.