Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Brian Monteith's article (18th April) pointing out that the SNP's call for the closure of 80% of our electric generating capacity by 2020 will inevitably cause blackouts, fuel poverty and the death of 10s of thousands of pensioners has stirred some response (letters 19th April).It was a long letter so I can't complain about the bits edited out (in bold) though I liked both and I believe reinforce my points but I can see some might think I was going a bit OTT. Editing improved the paragraph layout. The first 3 paragraphs were written by me as one. Taking out "It should have stirred more" as a paragraph in its own right makes it hard hitting.
It should have stirred more.
There is a close relationship between electricity production and GNP so the SNP policy is to destroy 80% of our national wealth. By comparison all the other "issues" & promises of all the 5 "main" parties put together sink to the significance of discussing deckchair arranging on the Titanic. Not that Labour, Conservatives & LibDems have much grasp of reality - their more "moderate" policy is merely to destroy 58% of our electricity by 2020 - something they unanimously voted for in the world's most draconian law to prevent the "catastrophic global warming" we all saw last winter.
The only party to truly oppose this lunacy is UKIP, who are fully committed to allowing the building of as much inexpensive nuclear power as there are customers for and have denounced "catastrophic warming" for the fraud on the electorate it clearly is. Perhaps coincidentally they have been effectively banned from BBC coverage - since 82% of Scots get their news overwhelmingly from the BBC and the rest of the media judge themselves by that standard this is a degree of control Gaddafi might envy. The excuse for this censorship is that there are only 5 "main parties" despite the fact that UKIP got 4 times as many votes as the Greens at the last general election and polls show them now nudging the LibDems.
Mr Hegarty's letter denounces Monteith's case claiming that closing 80% of our electicity will not cause harm because "The actual intention is that renewable sources will produce the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's annual electricity consumption by 2020".
The current 20% renewables consist of 10% hydro, which cannot be increased because all the good sites are taken, & 10% windmills, anything else being to small to count. So we are to believe windmills (which depend on £1 bn a year subsidy in Scotland) can be increased 900% over the next 9 years? Even if it could, wind varies terribly. Last December it sank as low as 0.2%. To keep the lights on then would require a 45,000% increase in windmills - by 2020.
This may be SNP policy (& to a lesser extent that of the LabConDems) but does anybody seriously suggest it is sensible? Not even Scottish Renewables, the government funded windmill lobby organisation, apparently who are on record as saying that windmills will not cause blackouts purely because "windfarms will not provide the baseload". Clearly ignorant of the new policy they assured us that "renewables" are much more expensive than our current power & "nobody is arguing that Scotland would not continue to have other forms of generation alongside a significantly expanded renewables sector" (letter 19th April). Well nobody
This means I have now, over the years, had letters in the Scotsman at election times specifically supporting 3 parties - the LibDems for supporting growth; the SNP for promising to support corporation tax cuts & now UKIP for not wanting to put the lights out. I can only do a mea culpa for believing the first 2 promises at the time.
Brian Monteiths article was on how and Labour can, against the trend, beat the SNP and why they should. It said
Fortunately for Labour, Alex Salmond's announcement last week that Scotland will be powered 100 per cent by renewables by 2020 is so potentially catastrophic that it has one more chance, probably its last chance, to regain momentum. It was noticeable that Ed Miliband jumped on this issue very quickly, suggesting Labour is clearly aware of Salmond's policy gaffe. But to attack it full frontal requires Labour to upset much of the climate change lobby that it has helped build up and the party may therefore recoil from doing so.
If it has the bottle, Labour has to make the point that renewable power generation, while worthwhile as a goal, is so inconsistent, so unreliable and so expensive that to rely solely on it must mean the deaths of many pensioners in Scotland. This may seem an extravagant claim, but it is a justifiable one and would set up an almighty public debate that would surely come down on Labour's side.
Just how is the SNP going to deliver 100 per cent renewable power? More wind turbines? Every wind turbine is heavily subsidised by higher prices on domestic electricity bills.
More windmills mean more subsidies and higher bills - causing greater fuel poverty that will leave old people dying.
Then there is the experience of our most recent winter where with prolonged freezing weather we found that the windmills just didn't work. On 20 December last year, when temperatures fell below minus 15C, peak demand was just over 60,000 megawatts across the UK. Yet, because there was virtually no wind, energy produced by all our wind turbines contributed a pathetic 52 megawatts.
Despite billions of pounds of investment and subsidies, our wind turbines were producing a feeble 2.43 per cent of their capacity - and little more than 0.2 per cent of the nation's electricity needs.
Which is on the money and would apply to any party that wants to increase its credibility.
By what is partly coincidence I joined UKIP last night. The Glasgow branch is considerably smaller than the total Glasgow LibDems, or at least than they were then which may not be the same thing. However while I was one of the youngest in my LibDem branch (OK it was some years ago) I am one of the oldest in UKIP and am confident that it has more members under the age of 50.