Energy decisions require clear debate based on facts

Scottish Engineering has a real concern that the vital need for us to establish a balanced energy policy is being put at risk by the absence of a meaningful debate and the fact that Scottish Government ministers are manipulating figures to suit their own ends.

We are appealing to everyone involved in the energy debate to indulge in sensible discussion based on facts.

It is misleading for the First Minister to state that renewable installed capacity matches or exceeds that of nuclear when he knows that the true measure is not installed capacity but output. He is also aware that to provide a reliable and consistent supply of electricity there needs to be conventional generation back-up to balance the wind element of our renewable capacity.

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It is misleading of John Swinney, secretary for finance and sustainable growth, to state that more than 90 per cent of Scotland's energy needs are provided by non-nuclear means. Figures published on the Scottish Government's website confirm that more than 30 per cent of Scotland's electricity is provided by nuclear power.

I urge the Scottish Government to participate in a meaningful debate on the matter.

(DR) PETER T HUGHES, Chief executive, Scottish Engineering, West George Street, Glasgow

We are assured by Ian Hendry (Letters, 21 January) that nuclear power is "uneconomic" (except presumably in France, where they have been producing it at half the price of our coal power for decades) and that it is not carbon-neutral because reactors have to be built (though this produces less carbon than windmills). This is allegedly why the nuclear industry is desperate to kill off the "renewables" industry.

The truth is the opposite. In March 2006, Nicol Stephen, Lib Dem leader, speaking in the BBC energy debate, said "nuclear is the easy solution" and went on to explain that it must be destroyed since, if allowed to succeed, the voters would never be so foolish as to pay for all the useless "renewable" subsidies. It can hardly now be denied that the desperation lies with those "environmentalists" who see their scare stories, and, therefore, their power and subsidies, coming to nothing.

NEIL CRAIG, Woodlands Road, Glasgow