Duke faces criticism over attack on wind power expansion

The Duke of Edinburgh came under fire yesterday at a renewable energy conference in Edinburgh for comments earlier this week dismissing the perceived benefits of wind energy.

Chairing the On-Farm Energy Generation Scotland conference at Ingliston, Aberdeenshire farmer and entrepreneur Dr Maitland Mackie, chairman of ice cream manufacturers, Mackies of Scotland, said there was no room in the renewable energy debate for nimbyism (not in my back yard) or bananaism (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything)

“The world is facing an energy crisis as we approach the end of the fossil fuel era,” said Mackie. “We need to invest in all forms of renewable energy to meet Scottish Government targets and land-based wind energy – the cheapest form of wind energy – will have a crucial part to play.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Duke of Edinburgh was plain wrong, he maintained, in attacking wind energy as an inefficient way of producing energy and solely dependent on subsidies by the energy industry.

“The renewable energy certificate and feed in tariff are incentives which make it work at present but as energy prices rise – as they will – subsidies will become less important and will not be required long-term,” he said. Three wind turbines on his own land to provide electricity for the farm and ice cream factory – with surplus sold to the national grid – was the best investment his family had ever made, he said.

Mackie suggested Prince Phillip should be encouraging the Crown Commission – whose profits go back to the Treasury – to develop wind energy on their vast estates. Up to 2,000 wind turbines producing at least one megawatt/hour of electricity would, he claimed, generate an annual income of as much as £2 billion a year.

He also attacked the Forestry Commission for granting wind energy concessions to four international energy companies for a “paltry” return of £30 million a year when the opportunity was there to produce a profit of £300-400m a year.“This is a huge missed opportunity to keep the profits in Scotland rather than being creamed off by companies based in Germany, Norway and Spain,” said Mackie.