The Scotsman; 25 April 2012
The open letter to Murdo Fraser from a group of the usual suspects (plus a few who should know better) cannot go unchallenged. Any sector which needs long-term public support is by definition unsustainable and a drag on the economy rather than something to encourage.
The “hundreds of millions of pounds” invested in Scotland each year are only made possible by higher taxes and electricity bills. Those who benefit are foreign manufacturers of wind turbines and the landowners who are prepared to exchange the goodwill of their neighbours and compromise the tourist industry for a large annual income, paid for by consumers.
The “highly paid and skilled jobs” are those in the manufacturers, nearly all overseas; Scotland would see a temporary boost in construction and installation work, while higher energy costs would cause a loss in current employment. An “internationally recognised hub of expertise in research, design and innovation” would certainly not be for the foreign-owned wind energy sector, and wave and tidal power is so far from commercialisation that the existence of small research groups in the area would hardly be of economic importance for the foreseeable future.
As experience in Denmark, Germany and Ireland has shown, the net effect on carbon dioxide emissions is much lower than claimed and pollution (to which carbon dioxide does not contribute) is already tightly controlled.
Since gas-fired power stations – whether in Scotland or south of the Border – will be needed to provide electricity on the frequent occasions when wind farms cannot, the suggestion that more use of renewable energy would improve security and offset gas price volatility is simply pie in the sky.
I trust Murdo Fraser will ignore the siren call of the renewable energy lobby and do his best to dissuade the present government from the irrational and damaging course which it has set.