Letters / No wonder communities are worried

Thank you for your report on fishing industry concerns over the potential loss of fishing grounds to offshore wind developments, which gives rise to several questions:

Fishing industry feels the squeeze but more offshore wind likely

  1. Mr Newcombe of the Orion project boldly demands the equivalent of 67 Viking Energy (VE) wind farms (30GW) be installed on fishing grounds around Shetland so that he can produce humongous amounts of hydrogen at Sullom Voe. Throw in the SNP-Greens’ forthcoming ‘highly-protected marine areas’ (HPMAs) and is it any wonder Shetland’s biggest industry and the communities dependent on it are worried?
  2. Is it appropriate to impose development on such a scale on a small, island community that has no control over the planning of it?
  3. Does the SIC accept the implied destruction of the fishing grounds, effectively, forever, as a direct result?
  4. If you want to produce green hydrogen at Sullom Voe, why not roll back the ambition to a more appropriate scale and use (safe) small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) instead of wind farms to produce the hydrogen?
    NB:  A single SMR would produce as much hydrogen as two VE wind farms.
    That way you would:
    –   Avoid inefficient use of the expensive electrolysis plant due to intermittent wind energy supplies (average, 40-50% of full production), significantly reducing production costs and increasing profits;
    –  Achieve your hydrogen aims without destroying vast expanses of seabed with thousands of large concrete structures and tens of thousands of miles of subsea cables;
    –  Avoid destroying the rich fishing grounds and Shetland’s biggest industry in the process.
  5. Would the economic and social consequences of losing the fishing industry be accounted for in the projected cost-benefit analysis of the proposed ‘wind-hydrogen’ industry?
  6. Or will they be quietly passed to the Shetland community itself, to be borne long after offshore wind has departed, leaving the detritus of its seabed destruction as its legacy to future generations?

These important considerations must be soberly addressed, not wafted away in a blizzard of ‘green-holy’, fear-mongering rhetoric.

John Tulloch



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