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Science should trump ideology

Sunday 6 July 2014 - David Toke and others demand that Scotland should have more control of its energy policy to escape "English" policies (Control of energy policy is needed, Letters, June 29).

But Holyrood's existing control of infrastructure planning has enabled the construction or consent of renewable capacity equivalent to 99% of Scotland's electricity consumption but contributes little to security of supply.
The economic consequences of the consumer-paid renewable subsidies have never been assessed by Holyrood. If all currently consented renewable capacity were to be built, the annual additional cost could be around £3.7 billion per year. Currently these costs are spread over all UK consumers. An independent Scotland with only one-tenth of the UK population would have to shoulder this bill alone.

Nuclear power is not economically bankrupt. The strike price of electricity from Hinkley C is half that of onshore wind when estimates of this include the often-omitted system integration costs. Nuclear plants which can access the present grid and are a stable source of supply do not incur comparable additional costs.

Neither the UK nor Scotland currently has a rational energy policy. The key issues of security of supply, cost and emissions reduction must be addressed, but these should be based on sound science and economics and not on an ideological commitment to any particular method of power generation.

Prof Tony Trewavas, Keith Burns, Colin Gibson, Dr Bruce Hobbs, Sir Donald Miller, Prof Jack Ponton, Dr Martin Stanton, Stuart Young

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The Scientific Alliance is pleased to publish and analyis of the intermittency of UK wind energy generation for 2013-14 by Derek Partington