Obsession with renewables takes from the poor and gives to the rich
AT last a discussion is opening up about the spinning of information by the Scottish Government in its fanatical support of the heavily subsidised renewables industry (Letters, December 16). This is economics of the worst kind, transferring money from the poor to the very rich promoting a low-carbon generation mirage. The phrase The Emperor’s New Clothes comes to mind.
In reality, without subsidies, wind farms are uneconomical; the phrase “free electricity” is anything but. The report by engineers from Edinburgh University concentrated on the carbon savings using figures from the National Grid, interesting and welcome, but as your correspondent Lyndsey Ward pointed out, the figures did not include the real issues, which are both economic and social. As a society we thrive based on our efficiency and competitiveness, but we are heavily subsidising an industry that does not provide the low-carbon electricity it is charged to do.
Not only are we subsidising the building of wind farms, we are paying wind farms to switch off when it’s very windy by way of constraint payments. Would it not be better to stop all subsidies completely for wind farms, accept the existing farms as part of the renewables mix towards a low carbon economy, and use their output without incurring additional subsidies? As an example, a successful two-year trial of the largest grid-scale battery has recently been completed in Leighton Buzzard. This “big battery”, up to 10MW storage, has proved its potential to transform the energy grid, storing energy when the demand is low and releasing it at peak times. By diverting constraint payments to the building of grid-sized battery support systems for existing large wind farms, would this not go some way to effectively utilise the energy they do produce, and make an attempt to stop this continual transfer of money to the rich? Graham Brooks, Ferry Row, Fairlie, North Ayrshire.