The True Costs of Scottish Wind Power
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This is summarised from a much longer article by Derek Lambie in the Sunday Post, 16 Mar 14.

Operators in Scotland have been given £1.8 billion in Government subsidies to build turbines since the SNP took office in 2007.

£80 million more has been spent paying energy companies to switch them off when the power is not wanted ('constraint payments'). The costs are added to fuel bills.

There is concern at the size of the subsidies when about a million people in Scotland are in fuel poverty.

Murdo Fraser MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliamentís Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, said the Scottish Government had an obsession with wind turbines, which were being developed far too quickly at the expense of other energy sources.

Promotion of wind farms, has been one of the SNPís main policies since 2007. Its target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of electricity consumption, and 11% of heat demand, from renewables by 2020.

Wind power is becoming increasingly unpopular among the general public, with giant turbines now scattered across the countryside. There are 219 operational wind farms in Scotland, with about 2,400 turbines. Moray has the most sites (20), but Orkney has the most turbines (600).

Most wind farms in Scotland were approved or built after the SNP took office.

£1.8 billion has been paid to operators since May 2007 in the form of a subsidy known as the Renewable Obligation. Introduced by the UK Labour Government to encourage investment in renewables, the money is recouped via a supplement added to all domestic and commercial electricity bills.

The annual subsidy in Scotland stands at £434 million.

Linda Holt, of campaign group Scotland Against Spin, said that we need an investigation into the costs and supposed benefits of wind farms. She pointed out that we just get sales talk about how good they are, at a time when other countries across Europe are pulling back from turbine construction.

The construction of new wind farms shows no sign of slowing down. In East Ayrshire, one power firm wants to build 50 turbines, each 150 metres high, in the South Kyle Forest, and another has plans for nineteen 130m tall turbines in Dalmellington.

Officials at the Scottish Government yesterday said that wind farms have provided about 12,000 jobs.

(I would be interested to hear what those jobs are. Turbines erected in my own area, manufactured overseas, were all brought in on foreign lorries and erected by foreign technicians - Ed.)

Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said that onshore wind met 40% of electricity needs in 2012 and contributed £1.3 billion to Scotlandís economy.

Campaigner Lyndsay Ward yesterday said that people in Scotland had become "collateral damage" in the quest to build turbines. People were suffering as a direct result of wind farms. They cannot sleep because of the noise, their homes become unsaleable when turbines are too close, and their countryside views are being destroyed.

    One other comment - £1.3 billion is a lot of money, but how much has been spent on expanding the Grid? This would not be necessary without wind turbine expansion, and currently, those extra costs are not debited to the wind industry. - Ed.


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