The True Costs of Scottish Wind Power
Recent news on energy

(From a letter published in 'The Scotsman', 22 Feb; republished here by permission of the writer.)

That Joss Blamire of Scottish Renewables rather than the energy minister Fergus Ewing should write into this paper (Letters, 19 February) speaks volumes. Why is it left to Mr Blamire to defend the Scottish Government’s lack of robust information to justify its wind energy policy?

The only data the government has about jobs and investment created by wind energy comes from Scottish Renewables, an organisation whose sole purpose is to defend the interests of its members. And what are the interests of its members? To maximise profits.

While other industries might look to research and development, or improving management, to bolster profits, this makes no sense for speculative developers driven by the prospect of winning the lottery every time they win a wind farm consent.

Scottish Renewables’ main job is to exert as much pressure on government and opinion-formers as possible so the gravy train can continue unhindered.

This means making sure first that the billions of pounds in subsidies, grants and other incentives extracted from UK energy consumers and taxpayers keep growing (and without which not a single turbine would turn), and second that nothing checks the Scottish Government’s ludicrously permissive system for building wind farms. A wind farm is twice as likely to be allowed in Scotland as in England, and we already have more than double the number of onshore wind turbines.

Our ministers should be deconstructing the sales-speak from Scottish Renewables, not mindlessly parroting it. For instance, onshore wind jobs are usually lumped together with all renewables jobs because otherwise the figure looks pathetically small. It’s never broken down either so we can see how many real, permanent jobs it includes.

Similarly, when it comes to the millions in investment Scottish Renewables brags about at every opportunity, what does investment mean?

Well-paid new employment opportunities, flourishing businesses and communities with new spending power – as we have seen oil and gas create in Aberdeen and the north-east or nuclear around Dungeness, Hunterston and Torness?

If the wind industry has created equivalent areas of economic prosperity, they are certainly not in Scotland.

When multi-national corporations cosy up to third world governments in order to exploit their natural resources, we hear the same happy talk of millions in investment as the bulldozers move in.

Local people, concerned about their homes and communities, are ignored, bought off or driven away.

The local environment is trashed and the local economy impoverished while the huge revenues from these developments flow abroad.

As Scotland turns into a giant wind farm for the south-east of England, what’s in it for us?

The self-serving answers from Scottish Renewables and the Scottish Government are not good enough.

Linda Holt, Pittenweem, Anstruther


Back to top

Energy Policy
Nuclear Power
Wind -
big turbines
Wind -
small turbines
Diversity Website