The war of the winds


The controversy of wind power in Scotland has resulted in more hot air as the tycoon vs. the politician cross swords.

Donald Trump, often surrounded in his own controversy, and Alex Salmond first minister for Scotland both have very different views on the aspect of wind energy.

Donald trump has been against the Aberdeen offshore wind farm since it was first proposed. His reasons are that it would be seen from his new golf course at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

Alex Salmond is pro wind farms and has openly stated that Scotland will meet the 2020 target of 20% renewable energy production.

But who has the right approach to this development?

Donald Trump’s argument is the visual aspect. He believes that it will detract from the pleasure of those who use the golf course, or stay in the proposed resort. A view which is commonly supported, almost every resident who live near a wind farm, or wind farm proposal have, or are currently opposing these developments.

So, as far as Mr Trump’s golf course is concerned, would it be possible to move the proposed wind farm further out to sea? That way, the government gets the find farm, Donald Trump cannot see it and everybody is happy… aren’t they?

Well, this is where everything revolves about money. The proposed wind farm could, theoretically be moved further out to sea, out of sight. Unfortunately, this would incur an increase in the cost of materials and labour, making it less financially attractive to the company installing them.

How financially viable are wind farms?

One word; Subsidies: without them there would be no wind farms. The tax payer is funding the development of these wind farms. So much so, that the ‘value for money’ aspect has been ignored in favour of political standing. Even now the wind industry is threatening to go to court over the proposed cuts in government subsidies.

“We can tolerate a cut of 10% in subsidy. But 25% - forget it. It would kill the industry stone dead” Quote Rod Wood Community Wind.

From a business point of view, wind turbine and wind farms are not viable. They have a design life of 25 years, yet are not expected to pay for themselves until year 30 of operation.

Now all said and done, we are still in an economic depression, yet our government are spending our taxes on projects that will never (or are very unlikely) make a return.

Also, local planning are starting to listen to the local communities, and a number of projects have been refused at local level, only to be over turned by the first minister, Mr Salmond.

This sound familiar, when Donald Trump applied for planning to develop his golf resort, it too was refused by the local planning office only to be overturned by the government.

It seems like the government and Mr Salmond, now elected, care more about politics than the people they were elected to represent.

Who has the right approach?

In this particular development, Donald Trump’s approach is purely personal. Alex Salmond on the other hand is purely political, and the company is just in it for profit. It would be nice if someone was looking at the environmental aspect.

Wind on a small scale. Unlike the huge wind farms which disrupt local communities and deface the beautiful Scottish landscape, the small domestic wind turbine shows a lot more promise. There are lots of reports of households who’s electricity bills have been reduce dramatically due to the installation of a domestic turbine.

One of our neighbours has had their 6KW turbine up for almost five years now. Their house is run purely on electricity and the turbine paid has now for itself. Now they have an income from exporting their excess electricity to the grid.

The idea of providing 20% of electricity by 2020 using renewable energy is achievable, but not with large scale, uneconomical, un-environmentally friendly wind farms.

If planning were to enforce the installation of some form of renewable energy on all new-build housing developments and building extensions; be it wind, solar or hydro, then not only will the people benefit, but so too would the government, the environment and local businesses. Win-win situation, not quite; the lobbying powers of the large energy corporation, who would start to lose some revenues, will do everything in their power to prevent the growth of domestic power production.

If Alex Salmond wants to meet renewable targets, increase his popularity and actually do something for the environment, he should increase local jobs and reduce the public’s energy bills by channelling the subsidies into the domestic renewable market.

Wind turbine farm or domestic power

Given a choice over wind power, where would you like to see wind turbines?

See results without voting


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