THE National’s front page photograph on Thursday was very pretty. It featured rows of hi-tech wave turbines under the sea generating electricity to power our homes and offices. The headline read “Scotland has more tidal [stream] capacity than rest of world combined".

According to the London School of Economics report, the UK has an installed capacity of 10.1MW (10.1 million watts) of tidal stream energy – all of it in Scotland. Scotland has “more than half of the entire operational capacity of the technology in the world as of 2023”. Currently, the UK as a whole has a further 40.8MW of capacity under development. The vast majority of this (35.2MW) is in Scotland.

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It should raise the question in our minds about who owns these turbines and who continues to own the electricity they produce.

A similar question should follow in respect of the multitude of wind turbines now covering more and more of our hillsides.

The fact of course is that we – the Scottish public, in the guise of the Scottish Government – don’t own any of it; not enough to light a wee torch bulb for even a millisecond.

Some years ago an SNP conference voted overwhelmingly to form a Scottish national power company only for the SNP Scottish Government to dismiss the idea very soon afterwards. As a direct result we will continue to have the private power companies use our electricity bills to fund their shareholder dividends. I clearly remember when the plan was announced at the 2017 SNP conference in Glasgow. The then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said energy would be bought wholesale or generated in Scotland – and sold to customers “as close to cost price as possible.”

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She said the company would not pay shareholders or corporate bonuses and that its only job would be to secure the lowest price for consumers and that it would give people – particularly those on low incomes – more choice of which supplier to use. In their 2021 manifesto, the SNP said that work on the public energy company had been “halted” during the pandemic, and efforts were being “refocused” on a public energy agency.

Perhaps it is time for the Scottish Government, and the new First Minister, to reconsider their policy on taking a public stake in Scotland’s currently very private energy market. To recycle an old but effective slogan from the 1970s: It’s Scotland’s Wind and Waves.

Brian Lawson

FRANCES Roberts is bang on the nail with her letter about the “undiscussed key to independence” (Jun 25)! I’ve long been frustrated at those who attack Scotland for its high drug death rate: what else do they expect, given how our country has been treated and how many of its young folk have been forced to leave for a better livelihood?

Also, have they never reflected on what self-esteem is about? Her final point from Darren McGarvey highlights the situation of whether or not we are prepared to help those caught in the quicksand.

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With his regular poem in a recent New European, Nic Aubury beautifully put the same premise as Frances Roberts (such that I’ve memorised it, to quote to people). I trust he won’t mind my repeating it here: “Our view that inequality is wrong/will never waver/(unless by serendipity/it’s working in our favour.)”

I often hear indy deniers admit that their life is fine: well, it’s time that they started thinking of those who couldn’t say that.

Catriona de Voil

I HAVE to take serious issue with Mr Tony Kime of Kelso (Letters, Jun 23) when he states “it is important that we all recognise that the failure of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) was entirely the fault of Westminster.” As a nationalist I would usually be the first to look to Westminster as the culprit, however in this case they are clearly not to blame.

Three years ago, in 2020, three of the Scottish Government’s own current ministers – Angela Constance, Tom Arthur and Patrick Harvie – were on a committee scrutinising the Internal Market Act. They singled out the DRS as an area of concern and said the act would create “complexities and legal difficulties” in relation to it – a point of view the Scottish Government then shared.

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Michael Gove raised the UK Government’s ambition for an aligned DRS with then SNP Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham as early as 2018, more than two years before the Internal Market Act was even introduced.

Ms Slater should clearly have foreseen the difficulties around the Internal Market Act.

Simply ignoring the truth will not bring independence a day nearer.

John Baird

I ENJOYED the Scotland game on Tuesday, although I must admit it is the first game I have watched on telly with a bucket under the screen.

M Ross