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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This somewhat sarky letter from me is in today's Scotsman.
We have seen numerous politicians and lobbyists assuring us that Scotland has "enough renewable power to supply all of Europe" or, in James Boyle's case (Letters, 12 October), 40 per cent as much. Nobody ever explains how such dubious and varying figures are calculated (and what Europe is expected to do when it isn't windy or is too windy). By comparison, Mali has enough renewable potential to power the entire planet (at least during daylight hours).

Mali's problem is that covering the entire country with solar cells, while theoretically possible, is not practical. The same applies to covering Scotland with windmills.

Incidentally, Yemen, which, like Mali, receives a great deal of sunlight, has decided to build five nuclear plants. Clearly, Yemen's political leadership is more realistic and progressive than Scotland's, though that is no great achievement.
This map shows the amount of land which would be required to be covered with solar cells to provide all our electricity & Mali would much more than do it. Here is the report of Yemen's enthusiasm for nuclear power. This is understandable since at present rates of population growth by 2050 Yemen will have a larger population than Russia.

Actually looking at the map it looks like Yemen could, theoretically provide all the world's electricity too - if they were stupid enough.


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