According to a late-story on the BBC website, the new power transmission line from Beauly (west of Inverness) to Denny (a little north of Glasgow) is about to be approved by the Scottish Executive (aka 'Scottish Government'). No-one who has read much of my blog-'witterings' can possibly confuse me as a natural supporter of anything done by our 'devolved' Scottish administration, far less as a natural supporter of much of anything done by the SNP, the current ruling political party in Scotland, but I am hopeful that this report is true, just as I was similarly pleased a couple of weeks ago that a positive decision was taken by the Scottish Executive (aka 'Scottish Government') to approve a Sainsbury's supermarket in Nairn.
Important as the Nairn decision is for people in my immediate area, it pales into insignificance when compared with the major project which is the Beauly-Denny power transmission line, designed to transfer major quantities of wind-generated energy from the Outer Hebrides (via an underwater cable under the Minch and a series of huge transmission pylons overland on mainland Scotland) to the heavily-populated Central Belt of Scotland. So a few 'Bollywood' films may no longer go ahead, or at least not be filmed on location in Scotland, because some of the panoramic views may be changed (I don't personally accept they will be 'spoiled' in any way, although it is undeninable they will be altered), but I think the availability of additional effectively-inexhaustible electrical energy is of vastly more importance in the longer-term for both the Scottish and wider UK economy, given the rapid depletion of our North Sea gas and oil reserves. Anything which can reduce our dependence upon imported energy (particularly from countries such as Russia, likely to use every opportunity it can to subject us to both political and economic pressure because of the abundance of its energy resources) is to be welcomed - we have seen in the past few years how ruthless that country is when it thinks it can use the threat of with-holding energy from countries it can dominate, to make it imperative that we reduce as much as possible falling into the same dilemma. Quite apart from this, both energy and food supplies (neither of which we have had to worry over-much about in most of Europe and other 'advanced' countries for many decades) are going to become much more critical factors for most of humanity in coming years. Do we want to return to some kind of pre-industrial agrarian society, which is probably capable of supporting only a much lower level of population than currently exists? And what is to happen to those who can no longer be supported, a question the 'green lobby' is always highly-reluctant to answer, or even admit is the inevitable consequence of the policies advocated? My experience is that the vast majority of such people are 'middle class', members of the 'bourgeoisie' (just as I am), unlikely mostly to be faced with the harsh choices that those in lower income bands, whether in this country or in most of the rest of the world, are daily faced with - or at least have been faced with in most of our lifetimes.
I do not believe in an apocalyptic doom-laden future, but I do believe we will all be called upon, specially in the currently wealthy Western world, to make some uncomfortable choices in coming years; for a lot of people like me this may involve (unfortunately) a reduction in the level of my animal protein intake (i.e. meat), although I accept that many others will be faced with much harsher choices. Whatever, there is probably going to be more competition for energy and food resources, specially from the BRIC countries, and unless we want all to freeze or starve to death in our northern temperate climates, or be forced into a drastic reduction of population, projects which may help us to retain our energy independence are vital.
I look forward to hearing confirmation very soon that the report that the Beauly-Denny power transmission line is definitely approved to go forward is true.