Dawn of a new era

A week ago I posed the following open questions to those that oppose a future renewable energy export industry for Shetland:

1. What will fill the vacuum when North Sea oil and gas is gone?

2. How will Shetland counteract the obvious risk that its population will plummet back to 17,325 people or fewer? (The population in 1971 was 17,325. In 2009 it was 21,800 – in 1971 we had a larger fishing, knitwear and crofting industry plus employment at Saxa Vord, Mossy Hill and Collafirth.)

As expected, there was not one credible response apart from one person who stated: “For generations world populations have moved, shifted, for economic reasons; Shetland is no different to other places – this is part of the evolution of mankind.”

Very good, so the answer is forget about the young and future generations, they can get on their bike – let Shetland crumble. I have yet to see anything positive about Shetland’s long-term social and economic stability come out of Sustainable Shetland – rather the reverse. A one-policy party, devoid of ideas to truly sustain Shetland into the future.

While the global demand for energy increases, the reserves of oil and gas continue to deplete. The importance of renewable energy is becoming more and more apparent, Shetland stands at the dawn of a new era – one which it is well placed to take part in.

Praise must go to our elected SIC councillors who took the decision on Tuesday to put their weight behind a renewable energy industry for Shetland. This will open a new future for Shetland and help counteract difficult economic times ahead.

Bert Morrison


Add Your Comment
  • Phil Smith

    • December 15th, 2010 10:38

    Only Arrogance assumes that the future generations will all be employed in the renewables industry, aka windfarms.

    It doesn’t say much for all the other industries in Shetland do’s it.

  • George W Pottinger, Hamnavoe.

    • December 15th, 2010 20:19

    What makes Phil Smith think there will be any other industries in Shetland, once oil and gas run out,without an interconnector to a sustainable grid system? Once oil and gas run out, as it inevitably will,and without an interconnector cable connection to a national, or international grid system, there will be no acceptable means of generating the base load required to maintain a stable Shetland mains electricity grid. Ergo, no industry relying on mains electricity, no hospital, no care homes, etc., I could go on….
    Of course, Phil may well know different. Let’s hear it then.

  • Phil Smith

    • December 16th, 2010 17:29

    Oil and gas aren’t going to run out any day soon.

    The ex boss of Shell was on radio 4 a couple of months ago , and said we would be increasing the use of fossil fuels on the planet for the next 60 years, and by that time there will be some other form of power generation available.

    He also said that no energy company on the planet would build windfarms if it wasn’t for public subsidys.

    The windfarm supporters “mantra” of Shetland returning to the stoneage if VE isn’t built is wearing very,very thin.

  • Bert Morrison

    • December 17th, 2010 21:53

    I would urge Phil Smith to read up on the work of American Geoscientist M King Hubbard and ‘Peak Oil’. Yes there will be oil for many years to come, but the world is at or nearing ‘Peak Oil’. That is where oil production has peaked and will gradually decline. This is set against a rapidly increasing human population and escalating energy use in countries such as China and India. This decreasing supply against increasing demand means prices will rise – we are already suffering this – and this is only the beginning!

    So yes there will be oil for the next 60 years, but in decreasing supply and what is left is mainly in the Middle East. North Sea oil production is already a shadow of what it used to be. What will be left in the East Shetland Basin in 10 years time?

    So Phil, do you honestly think that North Sea Oil is going to continue for 60 years and Shetland has no need to diversify?

  • Beth White

    • December 20th, 2010 19:42

    the Knitting Industry has been severely reduced to what is used to be a few years ago then there is the fishing Industry severely depleted as to what it was a few years ago..the Peat industry is finished..farming but for a few is on the way out ..there is no price for sheep..there is one or two small industries that keep a few people in employment but not many ….
    The majority of the population in shetland seem to be elderly men and women who have come to Shetland in the recent years in their old age,,they have no families here to habitate Shetland when they are gone…. young people will have to go elsewhere to find employment..
    Windfarms will not be the full answer but will help employment for a good few years..we can have sea power too..and who knows what it will all lead to in the future…at least give it a try..what else do we have..

    I agree with Bert Morrison 100%..

  • Danny Mullay

    • December 24th, 2010 20:24

    Mr Smith, you write that for the next 60 years we shall continue with fossil fuels, and then there will be another form of power generation available.

    New methods of generating electricity have to be developed over time. Surely better to begin employing and improving those alternate forms of energy we have now, than to wait the 60 years or so you believe it will take for oil to run out.


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