Letter Jack Ponton: I await with interest the business plan for Ms Sturgeon’s national energy company which will provide Scottish consumers with energy at ‘nearly the cost price’. Ms Sturgeon definitely talks about energy , ‘renewable of course’. One wonders if, like Mr Miliband, when drawing up the UK’s renewables targets, she is confusing ‘energy’ with ‘electricity’? Two thirds of domestic energy consumption is gas. There is no way in which the quantity consumed in Scotland could be produced by the only renewable process, anaerobic digestion. This was originally intended as a means of converting organic waste, but in practice has relied on crops specially grown as feedstock. There is only enough arable land in Scotland to provide enough of this to supply gas for 130,000 of our 2.4 million households, and most of this land is required to grow food. It is also probably the most expensive source of fuel gas. If Ms Sturgeon wants cheaper, though not renewable, gas it would have to be imported, probably ‘fracked’ gas, and perhaps from England, as fracking is banned in Scotland. So only one third of most household bills might be alleviated. Currently consented wind developments are certainly now sufficient to provide all Scotland’s electricity renewably, but only when the wind is blowing. When it isn’t we now have to import electricity from England. It is also unclear how this “green” company could avoid selling nuclear-generated electricity from Torness and Hunterston, or indeed from England or France. Electricity on the grid is not labelled by its source. The wholesale cost of electricity is less than half of what consumers pay. Contrary to popular belief, no one is making much money right now selling electricity. It may surprise those whose electricity bills have just increased to hear that wholesale prices are at a near record low.
Times19th Oct 2017 read more »