GEORGE Kerevan uses nearly two whole pages to decry the SNP/ Green government in respect of the seabed auction to renewable companies, making it clear that the Alba v SNP part of the forthcoming local elections is alive and kicking (How Scotland could have gained so much more from ScotWind auctions, Jan 24).

Clearly Scotland – one of the most democratic parts of the UK, but with limited recognised international authority, and lacking financial flexibility, and with only a few million residents – does not have a similar sway over international energy companies as, say, China, to use Mr Kerevan’s reference.

Energy firms are generally shareholder-owned refuges of safety for pension funds, which often means that profits go via Wall Street etc. They do not stop there, as implied by Mr Kerevan, but move on to those with company/public body pensions, amongst other recipients.

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SSE does indeed have a large relatively new USA share ownership entity, actively seeking to sell off the renewables part of the business to strip out value. The SSE board is resistant to this and is investing to the hilt in renewables, which must look like a very poison pill to what might appear to be USA-based asset strippers.

One of the next critical steps is the commissioning of connection to the grid, which as I understand it remains a reserved matter. Then there is just how fast the renewables can get on stream to benefit Scotland, and the question of lower energy prices following greater supply volumes.

As well as this there is the small matter of the power grid generally and how this is to be funded/owned, and expanded, and made more resilient, once the powers and funding are fully under the direction of Holyrood.

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The Unionist cause has just taken a huge hit from their “no oil/cheap oil/too poor” justification that independence would not well serve Scotland. Articles like this trying to suggest that this justification remains but is replaced by “no renewables/expensive energy/too poor” are in reality supportive of a No vote, and not helpful.

There clearly remains a big fundamental issue to address here in respect of the balance between low energy costs – for future individual, collective, and commercial wellbeing – and funding individual, collective, and commercial wellbeing raised via taxes on more expensive energy.

Perhaps The National could arrange for relevant articles to be penned by those working in the social enterprise sector, which may move matters forward, and with some sense of urgency, betwixt and between those existing article writers supporting state enterprise and/or free enterprise stances generally.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

GEORGE Kerevan’s comprehensive coverage of the situation regarding renewables in waters owned by the Crown Estate Scotland makes very interesting reading.

His conclusion is that the best outcome for Scotland would be obtained by setting up joint ownership of all projects, with the Scottish Government providing access and the energy companies providing the capital; joint management would ensure that construction work would come to Scotland.

WATCH: Anas Sarwar and Nicola Sturgeon clash over ScotWind firms

This would be an ideal solution for a newly independent Scottish Government seeking to minimise borrowing in its early years, however is little more than a pipe dream under a cash-strapped devolved government.

Energy and contract laws are fully reserved to the UK Government and although the Crown Estates in Scotland have been transferred to the Scottish Government their management board still acts independently, so even if this was all achieved at the end of the day there would be no greater return to the Scottish Government.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry