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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

14/15ths Of Cable Cost "Goes Walkabout" - Courier Letter

  This letter in today's Dundee Courier (emailed to them 3rd Nov)

I am no fan of windmills - they are 10 times the cost of conventional power, intermittent, unreliable and tend to destabilise the smooth voltage on which the grid and modern technology depend - however I have sympathy with windmiller's dismay over the price increase, to £775 million, of a cable between the western Isles and the mainland.

The Aberdeen bypass, at £23.3 million a mile is 8 times more expensive than new roads across the EU & US are. The same applies to the Forth tunnel which is 8 times more expensive, after adjusting for inflation, than the previous Forth bridge.

By comparison, a few years ago, Norway signed a contract with Nexans to lay a much longer cable (292km) at a cost of $98 million (then about £50 mill) in the North Sea. This seems to be the normal cost in the rest of the world.
 Thus in this case we are greatly exceeding the normal situation of Scottish public projects costing 8 times what they do elsewhere. In this case it looks like well above 15 times.

Before the Forth crossing contract was signed I e-mailed every MSP asking why so much of the money goes walkabout but got only one, not entirely coherent, reply.

Can none of our elected leaders tell us why everything they do costs us so many times more than it would elsewhere in the world and where the money they take from us goes?

ref "Nexans will manufacture, deliver and install 292 km of HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current)-IRC maritime cable and a separate fibre-optic submarine cable as well as all the associated equipment both at the land station and on the platform. " 

   Very small edit underlined which perhaps marginally downplays my implication of fraud. That's OK.

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