The issue of renewable energy is threatening to blight many people’s enjoyment of one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. I am referring to the dozens of ugly, disingenuous posters stating: “No Wind Farms Here” that have popped up around the Strathglass area.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but surely only the most blinkered could argue against the dire need for them in the face of this week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change.
Residents in the area have been doorstepped into signing a petition against wind farms and even asked to justify their position. Imagine if independence campaigners were to use such tactics.
I use the word “disingenuous” as the posters suggest opinion is united against wind farms, when that is untrue.
The protesters’ website reveals that their “facts” about wind farms are gleaned from the oil industry-funded body the Scientific Alliance. More reliable information can be obtained from august publications such as New Scientist, Nature and National Geographic, all of which use facts rather than dogma to advance their arguments.
I had a long hike around Glen Affric recently, spending eight hours walking through the beautiful (and largely man-made) landscape. As I entered the final stretch, I noticed the Corrimony wind farm on a hill in the distance.
Apparently, for some, the sight of what amounts to five matchsticks would completely ruin their enjoyment and put off tourists from ever visiting again.
Of course, those paid to promote an industry bloated by subsidy are predicting doom over the news that David Cameron is considering pulling the plug on onshore wind. Niall Stewart of ScottishRenewables insists “thousands” of jobs would go. His own research shows onshore wind accounted for only 3,397 full-time equivalent jobs, the vast majority of these associated with the process of applying for and constructing wind farms.
These are not sustainable or permanent jobs unless we believe that the capacity of Scotland to accommodate wind turbines is unlimited and that the growing resistance from besieged communities and environmental bodies can be dismissed.
Already Scotland has many more turbines than the rest of the UK, and far too many for the grid to cope with (although of course that doesn’t bother the wind-farm operators as they get to collect millions in compensation payments).
Research studies have repeatedly shown that subsidised jobs created by the wind industry cause between two and four jobs to be lost elsewhere in the economy. Cutting subsidies would curb profiteering, stimulate much-needed innovation in energy production, and protect everyone’s job by reducing electricity costs.
“Bad news for the economy, the environment and employment across Scotland?” Only for the fat-cats of the wind industry.