Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 30 August 2006

Public inquiry into pylons plan

Scottish and Southern Energy (the modern name for Scottish Hydro-Electric and Southern Electricity, now one company) want to build 600 pylons over a 137-mile route to take renewable energy from wind and wave farms in the north of Scotland to central Scotland, where most Scots live; the pylons would run from Beauly (near Inverness) to Denny, not very far from Glasgow.

The Scottish Executive have just indicated that the link will go to a public inquiry, a move that has been welcomed by opponents from the 'green' lobby, though even Eleanor Scott, Green MSP for Highlands and Islands is quoted as saying:

"The upgrade does need to take place - in a careful and considered way - if Scotland is to make the most of its renewable energy resources and make our own contribution to tackling climate change."

- the sub-text of what she is saying, to me, is quite obvious. There are absolutely no votes in carrying out policies (i.e. not doing this, or something similar) which would lead to people having to curtail significantly the energy they consume to run all the electric gadgetry in their homes - such as the computers (2), televisions (5), video recorders (4) and DVD players (3) in my home. Not to mention all the other creature comforts that I have come to take for granted - like having my home centrally heated (currently by gas, a non-renewable energy source). I do not believe I am in any way atypical of my fellow-Scots living in the central belt of Scotland who, alas, are not so favoured as we probably are by having local sources of renewable energy on our doorsteps.

I've thought for a number of years that it is inevitable we will require to build new nuclear generation capacity to replace generating plant (nuclear, gas, coal, etc) which for various reasons may have to be replaced or diminished. If those who are opposed in principle to projects such as that proposed by Scottish and Southern, in order to meet the government's targets for renewable energy, then they will have to realise that their opposition may come with a severe price - no longer being able to switch the kettle on to boil water whenever we feel like it, or getting used again to living in colder houses, as when I was a young child. I sympathise with the 'green' desire to have our countryside remain completely unspoiled, but frankly I don't think they have thought through some of the consequences of their opposition if taken to a logical conclusion.

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