On the agenda today: Scotland’s energy mix, how other countries deal with snow, Christians in Iraq, and our money supply.
Scottish ministers ignored nuclear contribution
Sir,-Your article ‘No electricity being imported in recent cold snap (December 29)’ was hardly fair to our own long-established nuclear industry.
Torness and Hunterston power stations have produced an average output of about one giga watt each for approximately 22 and 35 years respectively. That is about one quarter of Scotland’s needs of reliable, affordable low-carbon electricity.
I believe the cost of modern, non-subsidised nuclear, including decommissioning, is less than half that of heavily subsidised offshore wind.
If Scotland really was a net energy exporter during the prolonged cold snap of recent weeks, it must have been due to our large, polluting coal-fired power stations, our two low-carbon nuclear power stations, some hydro-electric plants plus, of course, 2.5% of wind power.
The decline in electricity demand in Scotland due to the shutdown of our own manufacturing industry must also play a large part, which can only increase rapidly as new renewables push up the price of electricity to astronomical levels.
As David J. C. Mackay says in his seminal book, Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air, the numbers must add up and, in the case of the present Scottish Government, a maths tutor might be helpful.
Stephen Grieve.60 Nethergate,Crail.
SNP will take realistic option
Sir,-Three years ago, as a carefree Liberal politician without the slightest prospect of power, Chris Huhne dismissed nuclear energy as a “tried, tested and failed technology.”
Today, after a bruising encounter with the hard realities of being UK Energy Secretary in the coalition government, he is a convert to the nuclear cause and will be joined sooner or later by First Minister Alex Salmond.
Chris Huhne’s new proposals mark a welcome and fundamental shift away from New Labour’s renewables obsession to a more balanced strategy with nuclear playing a prominent role.
A timely warning came on our recent coldest night when the power coming from UK wind turbines fell to 0.2 per cent and we were only saved by the French nuclear reactors.
(Dr) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews.
Sir,-Why do we seek to blame the Government when we cannot cope with the snow?
At one time, most supplies of grit, and indeed other commodities, were transported on the railways, with the remainder by sea or canal.
Perhaps it was a mistake to move large quantities of freight to the roads and add to climate change.
Readers who missed the recent discussion on Radio 4 may like to know what happens in other countries during severe spells of weather.
Snowploughs and special equipment are used instead of salt, which may cause damage, motorists use winter-grade tyres, taxpayers’ money is well spent employing farmers to keep rural roads open with their tractors and the unemployed clear footpaths with shovels.
Motorways can be prevented from being blocked by jack-knifed trucks by banning these vehicles on them in the snow.
The answer to an objection that essential supplies would not get through was simple — use suitable smaller lorries.
Malby Goodman.70 High Street,Aberdour.
A tradition under threat
Sir,-What a nice surprise it was to read MEP Struan Stevenson’s letter highlighting the persecution of Christians in Iraq. He is quite correct to warn of European Union money being given to an administration which chooses to ignore Christians’ plight.
It is to Tony Blair’s shame that he ignores these matters while getting richer.
I thank Conservative Struan Stevenson for this out-of-the-blue letter and remind him sincerely that the United Kingdom is rife with political correctness against Christians.
I hope he has more influence with his political masters in London than I do.
Rob Smith.Scotland Co-ordinator,Christian Peoples Alliance,Longleys,Meigle.
Strip power from bankers
Sir,-Recent correspondents in this column are correct to blame the banks for our present financial problems.
The United Kingdom Government could save £70 billion a year by simply changing the ridiculous situation where the private banking system creates our money supply as debt, by means of electronic book-keeping that allows the same money to be lent over and over again by the process of fractional reserve lending.
This money should be spent into the economy, debt-free, by the state.
We are presently paying £70 billion a year of interest to private banks on the national debt, which is just a fancy name for the total sum of our unpaid borrowings of this endlessly re-lent money from these banks over the years.
Removing the burden by having the state create a debt-free money supply would cure our economic problems overnight.
Malcolm Parkin.15 Gamekeepers Road,Kinnesswood,Kinross.
Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to email@example.com or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.