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Letters / Castles in the air

The gushing welcome by SIC leaders and renewable energy capitalists for SSE’s stated intention to invest £580 million in its Viking Energy wind farm (VEWF) is nauseating.

SIC leader says wind farm investment decision a ‘positive’ step forward in ‘uncertain economic times’

A ‘fat cat’, dyed green, remains a fat cat.

SSE has no contract to sell VEWF’s energy, rendering its announcement meaningless. If it can’t sell its energy, it won’t be built, raising the suspicion that this is merely a publicity stunt intended to push Ofgem into approving its £632 million, tenfold overcapacity grid link.

This and the SIC’s much vaunted “Energy Hub” are ‘castles in the air’, vast edifices in the sky, supported by nothing but hot air. Somebody will have to pay for it all, namely, consumers, including the 53 per cent of Shetland homes already in fuel poverty.

Once the cost of the standby power plant is included SSE’s boondoggle will ring the till at over £700 million. Throw in VEWF and it rises to around £1.3 billion.

Consumers are being sold a pup. The cost-benefit analysis purportedly justifying the grid link is a travesty. Aside from the standby plant being omitted from the project cost, its fundamental assumptions are false and important calculations and data on costs and profitability have been withheld from public scrutiny. I for one have raised a Freedom of Information request to obtain the figures.

No less an authority than Sir Donald Miller, former chief engineer of NOSHEB and chief executive and chairman (retired) of SSEB/Scottish Power, has been quoted in The Times (Scotland), saying there appeared to be “enormous secrecy around the relevant figures and costs. It is surprising that Ofgem, looking at the case for the interconnector, don’t appear to have given any thought to the cost to consumers. What are they trying to hide?”

Enough said.

John Tulloch