Your letters to The Buteman: January 8, 2016

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This week’s crop of Letters to the Editor includes thoughts on renewable energy, the latest closure of the Rest and Be Thankful and a fresh helping of festive ‘thank you’ messages.

As ever, to add your views to the debate on any subject of interest to Bute, drop an email to Our letters deadline is 5pm on Monday - though as always, the sooner we hear from you, the better are your chances of seeing your views in print.

Please keep your letters as brief as you can, and remember to include your name and address for publication. We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed.

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‘Renewables are powering ahead in Scotland’

The above headline on page 10 of your January 1 edition encouraged me to read on with interest.

It was with some disappointment, however, I found no reference whatever to the concept of ‘power’ in the text of the article.

There exists a widespread misunderstanding in both media and general public of the difference between power and energy.

Power is measured instantaneously, and energy is the cumulative measurement over a period of time.

National Grid operate a power system which is inherently unstable. They must balance the power demand with the available power supply.

Too much power, light bulbs glow very brightly and burn out – too little power, motors run very slowly then all the lights go out. The system is monitored and managed minute by minute. Any change in the demand/supply balance has to be immediately addressed.

With the general reduction in the UK of flexible conventional generation plant, the tools available to system control become rather unsophisticated.

Wind farms have been asked to shut down during periods of overcapacity (but have still been paid for the energy they would have produced). Some industries are contracted to shut down production during periods of under-capacity (but I’m sure they will not be prepared to pay for the energy they would have consumed).

Other than switching on or off, there is no control over power delivered by a wind- driven energy device.

The article highlighted annual energy totals. Renewables make a significant contribution to the system.

The aim for one hundred per cent production from renewables in Scotland may be achievable. There may, however, be unwelcome consequences when maintaining the demand/supply balance.

Planned and unplanned interruption to domestic supplies may not be popular. Rationing of power (as was common on offshore islands before connection to the mainland grid) may become the norm.

To depend on imports of non-renewable power from neighbours during cold, frosty, windless periods could be interpreted as the result of irresponsible planning.

I have every confidence that our power system engineers will overcome politically introduced obstacles like aversion to nuclear generation, a ban on ‘fracking’ and abandoning development of carbon capture technology. Solutions will be developed in the long term.

It’s the short term that worries me. I make no reference to economic consideration, only to feasibility.

Have you made plans for the lights going out?

To appreciate the scale of operation of the power system and the fluctuations in demand andsupply, the website http://nationalgrid.stephen is well worth a visit.

Iain Dunn, 27 Mountstuart Road, Rothesay

Co-op bag-pack a success

The bag-packing at the Co-op on Hogmanay for Macmillan Cancer Support raised the wonderful sum of £1268.60.

May I, on behalf of the Bute Committee, thank the Co-op manager and staff for permitting us to bag-pack on one of their busiest days.

Thanks also go to the ladies and gentleman who helped us during the day. However, our biggest thank you must go to the Co-op customers who gave so generously to this very worthwhile cause.

A marvellous start for our fundraising in 2016.

Elena Anderson (secretary, Bute branch of Macmillan Cancer Support), 19 Craigmore Road, Rothesay

Urgent action needed at Rest and Be Thankful

The netting at the Rest and Be Thankful has failed, the A83 has been closed again, and drivers forced on the long detour via Dalmally. The cheap patch and mend solution has clearly failed.

Fortunately nobody was killed in the two cars that got caught up in the landslide of December 30, but the next driver to get caught might not be so lucky. Urgent action on a permanent solution is needed now.

When the Forth Bridge was closed, the SNP Government rightly pulled out all the stops to get it repaired. In contrast all the A83 gets is patch and mend.

This time the SNP must put a proper solution in place to keep the road open and drivers safe.

Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute), 136 Fairhaven, Dunoon

Rothesay’s winter wonderland

Now the decorations are safely put away for another year and things begin to return to normal, we felt that it was a good time to thank all the many people who made our Christmas enterprises so successful.

Firstly, we would like to thank Fyne Homes for all their help and support. Without them, we would not have been able to create either the Ice Grotto, which was installed at the Discovery Centre for Father Christmas and was so successful, nor the scenery and puppets for the ‘Cailleach Beira’ show, which was performed at the Discovery Centre’s cinema.

We would like to thank the managementand staff at the Discovery Centre, particularly Hazel Mulholland, and also Shona Edwards of the Ballochgoy Family Project, who supplied the gifts and her time for all the children who visited the Grotto, and all the vendors who participated in the Wintergarden Wonderland Craft Fair.

There are so many people to thank. All the cast of ‘Cailleach Beira’, who gave of their time and talent to make the show such a success.

To Iain and Gordon Gillespie, for all their technical expertise and support. To Ronnie Hair for his help in taking it all down and finding storage for quite substantial pieces of scenery.

To Lyanne Mitchell for creating such a great poster for the Cailleach. For Roger from the Bute branch of the British Legion, and fellow member Peter, who helped so much with his advice on airbrushing!

To Elke Buchan, Colleen Magennis, Craig Borland and the staff at The Buteman and to all the offers of help and support - there really are too many folks to mention.

We are already planning for Christmas 2016!

Alison and Ed Clark, 12a Argyle Place, Rothesay

Fund-raising thanks from Cancer Research UK

On behalf of the local fund-raising committee, I would like to thank Helen, Georgia and family for their recent donation of £20 to Cancer Research UK. “Someone who is remembered never dies.”

I am also extremely grateful to the manager and staff of the Co-operative in Bridge Street for allowing us to bag-pack on Wednesday, December 23, along with our friends from the Rotary Club of Rothesay.

I am greatly indebted to our volunteers from both organisations and to all the customers whose generosity resulted in the wonderful amount of £1,147.66 being raised.

My sincere thanks go to one of our committee, Jean McMillan, for once again donating the proceeds from the sale of her cards and craftwork during 2015, which amounted to the magnificent sum of £1,000.

Thank you all.

Fiona Martin (donations secretary, Bute branch of Cancer Research UK), 4 Caledonia Walk, Rothesay

Bute’s golf courses ‘not on the map’

With the risk of the ferry contract being awarded to a company which represents the worst face of private enterprise; with national newspapers (reporting on the arrival of the Syrians) depicting Bute as a poverty stricken, remote, windswept island, where the sun seldom shines and rain falls all the time; and with a county council which does not reject out of hand a suggestion that the gardens, which are one of the greatest attractions – if not the greatest attraction – of Bute, the following might be regarded as trivial.

Before travelling south at Christmas we bought half a dozen tea towels to give to friends at our former golf club, who take at least one golfing holiday a year, frequently in Scotland.

The towels display a map of Scotland with locations of golf courses marked.

Unfortunately we did not examine them carefully.

Our friends are unlikely to be attracted to courses in Colonsay or Gigha, but they certainly will not be attracted to Bute because, according to the map, it does not have any golf courses.

We bought the towels at the local Visitor Centre.

Who needs enemies?

Bill St. Clare, 14 Craignethan, Rothesay