Snow joke in Alex’s wonderland

Opinions and arguments submitted to TheSouthern for and against renewable energy, particularly in the shape of wind farms, are imperative, but to use valuable debating space for aiming sarcastic remarks at contributors – as has Richard West in a previous edition – is senseless and ridiculous.

Mr West regards technical arguments as being bizarre, only being used by Unionists in the independence debate. The myopic view he refers to is clearly his own blinkered opinion.

More than 300 people have died as a result of the severe weather across Europe that left thousands of people under a blanket of snow, cut off from power and supplies. This could easily be Scotland’s fate if Alex in Wonderland at the head of a mad hatter’s tea party commits to a course of action where technical arguments clearly demonstrate that the outcome would be catastrophic.

Wind farm economics is based upon the absurd shifting sands of a guaranteed purchase price for the energy produced, plus the inducement of a feed-in tariff, both of which will vanish after a 20-year period, thereafter making the wind farm completely unviable. But worse still, in parallel, conventional power stations would be gradually phased out.

Robin Cross, at the other end of Mr West’s scorn, correctly articulated a detailed and full extent of technical reasons against wind farms which, as yet, no counter claims have been offered in their defence.

It has nothing to do with Unionists debating independence – it is about the conceivable calamity that is facing this country should conventional power stations be phased out. Gas and coal power stations would be more than feasible if rather we devoted the vast amounts we are spending on wind farms to carbon-capture technology.

There is definitely a place for renewable energy in Scotland, but it has to be alongside conventional. One of our greatest natural assets, particularly in the Borders, is hydro power. It does not destroy the countryside with its implementation. It is consistent. It is at least five times more efficient than wind turbines and can therefore withstand the removal of feed-in tariffs, making it financially viable and future proof. All of which wind turbines are not.

Mr West cites Europe as prime examples of wind farm success. This is 2006 thinking, Mr West. The latest news coming out of Europe is nothing short of panic over a green policy going disastrously wrong.

However, having escaped from that parallel universe of Theresa May and neo-conservatism we Scots refer to euphemistically as Westminster, Mr West has adopted Scotland and wild horses would not drag him back – can I suggest the X95 to Waverley as a likely technical alternative.

Hugh Lovatt

Selkirk

TheSouthern’s article last week gives Lauderdale Preservation Group (LPG) more credit than we are due for Dougie Johnston’s striking photomontage of proposed wind turbines around Lauder.

The photograph was commissioned not by LPG, but by the joint community councils’ response group and submitted not to the Scottish Government committee on renewables targets, but to the ongoing public inquiry into the Rowantree wind farm.

LPG’s submission to the committee, which is available on the SG website, provided only a map of the proposed wind turbines in and around Lauderdale. These include two wind farms not visible from the photomontage viewpoint, Corsbie Moor and Brunta Hill, as well as at least a dozen single turbines in operation or planning.

These single turbines, some of them larger than the original Soutra turbines, are an increasing threat to the Borders. Such rationale as exists for large wind farms in terms of national energy security does not apply to these smaller installations whose contribution to this is negligible.

Their proponents promote them as “farm diversification” which is misleading as they are, in fact, simply financial investments whose main payback comes from the feed-in tariff subsidy paid by electricity consumers rather than from the power which they generate.

So-called small turbines pose a serious threat to residential amenity as they are being proposed for sites close to neighbours’ homes and are often as noisy, or noisier, than larger turbines.

Jack Ponton

(chairman, LPG)

Earlston