The Shetland Tidal Array: Time To Halt Land Based Turbines

Letter to The National, 31/08/16wp-1472732308690.jpg

The connecting of the Shetland Tidal Array to the grid is one of the most momentous events in recent Scottish history and rightly took pride of place on the front page of The National on Tuesday. Having seen some of the companies who were exploring this field sink financially (and those failures were celebrated by many a unionist) this should be welcomed as it puts Scotland at the vanguard of this technology. For too long companies have been happy to throw their money into cheap, easy and unreliable land based wind turbines; the excuse always being that wave power is still in development and is not yet viable. That day is now here; it is fully developed and it works, so now is the time to put an immediate moratorium on land based turbines. Only a few weeks ago the Court of Session overturned a previous decision which will now see 67 turbines installed in the Monadhliath at Stronelairg, a shocking decision which calls into question the Scottish Government’s attitude to protecting our wild land. To allow the irreversible industrialisation of our mountains to continue for private profit when we have been handed a 24 hour, 365 day a year reliable power source which will operate “as long as there is a moon orbiting the earth” would be an unpardonable folly. If there is a cheaper and easier return for investors then they will follow the money and wave power will languish in second place, despite it being the superior technology, and it will take government intervention to make them move away from wind and into tidal. The Scottish Government should for once actively encourage the energy companies to move their activities offshore, rather than their profits, which would be a welcome change.

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2 Responses to The Shetland Tidal Array: Time To Halt Land Based Turbines

  1. I actually like wind turbines and prefer them onland as I think that they’re a danger to shipping otherwise in bad weather. But it’s high time tidal/wave power got underway. I used to work on research into it in the 70s but then the Government scrapped the funding (and all the research we’d done) to give the money to nuclear instead😦

  2. jester1970 says:

    The thing with turbines is they are cheap and easy (but unreliable). They provide a good return for investors but they are intermittent and therefore not the long term solution we need.
    It’s easy for the government to say that on X day we produced 110% of our electrical needs with turbines, but they will seldom point to the days of high pressure when they aren’t generating sufficient energy.

    I’m now living in an area which is surrounded by hundreds of turbines visible for 30 miles or more. This may not bother some but the infrastructure to support each turbine is considerable; perhaps acceptable in urban areas, but horrendous in our wild places.

    Tidal is unobtrusive and available 24 hours a day. It’s where the renewables industry should be going, but they will have to be encouraged to do so.

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