ONE important contributor to energy from Scotland which is being overlooked is pumped-storage hydro power which is virtually zero carbon, can start up in about two minutes, and at the moment is used mainly for small gaps in supply from other power stations. There are several big ones including Cruachan, which may be used for only five minutes a day – a shocking waste.

Some of the smaller ones have understated their capacity to access the “small hydro” grants scheme. These should all be running at full capacity at all times. Again the question is: why is this local, secure, clean energy – available now with no extra costs – being ignored? It should be brought up whenever power is discussed.

READ MORE: Energy-rich Scotland does not need new nuclear power plants

There is also massive potential for every river, even big burns to have “water screws” which do not affect flow, fish etc but will produce local electricity, preferably without the grid, as happens on the islands.

It is essential too that only genuinely green, local, sustainable sources are used for power if the planet is to remain habitable for people. Hydro, wind, tidal, heat exchange, solar etc – combined with properly insulated housing – are not just the right thing but the only thing. It has been pointed out that people in 1800 used wind power for almost everything, from windmills working machines to folk drying their washing.

There should be NO NUCLEAR at all (particularly not foreign-owned) – too expensive, too slow, too dirty, too dangerous; NO more extraction of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, oil, peat. Carbon storage can use the spaces left. Cars should be made much more economically, sustainably etc until we have proper public transport, and safe walking and cycling routes.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon hits back over Scottish nuclear site deliberations

Energy policy in the UK as decided by Westminster, is extraordinarily inefficient, destructive, unfair and unsuitable for a wealthy country, preventing or sabotaging any improvements. Some of the most serious problems are as follows:

1) Scottish suppliers pay to put power on the grid, whereas English and Welsh suppliers are paid.

2) Electricity costs much less almost everywhere else in the UK than in Scotland – the coldest, wettest and windiest part on average – despite much of it being generated in Scotland.

READ MORE: Alan Riach: Encounters with one of Scotland's greatest renewable resources

3) From April 2022, according to Ofgem figures: London has a 38% increase in electricity costs, despite being the highest-paid area owing to the London “weighting” to which everyone else has to contribute; Yorkshire has an 81% increase; northern Scotland has an 82% increase; southern Scotland 100%; North Wales 102%.

Much more power should be generated and used locally, as is the case on islands with their own generating system, rather than many of the poorest communities living right beside where electricity is generated losing all the benefits if their location.

Local supply of any product is a big part of resilience, something we will need even more in the future.

Susan FG Forde

“KNOW your place” has always been the manner of an English elite. This attitude has now been adopted by the “big money boys” and applied to Scotland. Friday’s National reported Michael Matheson as saying it was “completely unacceptable” that Scotland was left out of energy plans. Perhaps a rather mild comment given that Westminster’s plans also fail to show any understanding of the world’s rapidly developing climatic problems. Nor do they recognise the mindless folly of nuclear expansion increasing the menace of radioactive waste to a political and tectonically unstable planet. Never has a green light for Scottish independence shone so brightly.

Iain R Thomson