Wind of change

When the Scottish National Party was in opposition in Scotland in 2007, present energy minister Fergus Ewing said: “The SNP believes that many other forms of renewable energy are the future – not unconstrained wind farms. Wind farms have … a very heavy environmental footprint not only blotting the landscape in places … but also in the release of substantial quantities of methane from peat landscapes.”

So why is Mr Ewing so keen to undermine Amber Rudd’s decision as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to end onshore wind farm subsidies from April 2016? He clearly does not think Scotland’s “independence” should bring an end to its dependence on the pockets of 85 per cent of the UK population who live south of the Border.

As a former student of law, Mr Ewing evidently has the ability to support both sides of an argument with equal conviction. That is confirmed by his present championship of the unconstrained scramble by the corporate sector to plant wind farms on so many of Scotland’s peat-rich uplands – at England’s expense.

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Perhaps his main concern will now be to protect the enormous subsidies we all pay through our electricity bills to boost the incomes of multinational energy corporations and Scottish landowners. We should remember that the people of the Western Isles already experience the highest levels of fuel poverty in western Europe. Mr Ewing might profitably consider the opinion of Johannes Teyssen, chief executive of the German energy giant, E.ON, that, as onshore wind electricity generation is no longer in its infancy, the continuation of the subsidy regime is no longer justified.




Hopefully Westminster will manage to hack its way through the divisive rhetoric flooding out of Holyrood and from the wind industry regarding the end to onshore wind subsidises.

It is not true to insist communities want industrial turbines because of the “bribery” on offer. Many don’t want the money and they don’t want massive turbines, pylons, etc, damaging their environment, health and happiness.

A green fog seems to befall all SNP politicians on the wind issue, rendering them unable to see or hear any negative aspects or listen to their constituents. They ignore their own people, preferring to enrich wealthy multinationals and landowners and only seem able to quote the wind industry’s own figures and polls. There is no proof that the huge sums of money that are bandied about as being lost to Scotland would have stayed in this country, as it is money from schemes put forward by multinational developers.

The Westminster government has explained the extent of recent wind development has, in effect, used up the available pot of money and met targets. The SNP should realise their uncontrolled “all are welcome” wind policy has contributed to this at a faster rate than predicted. To subsidise more wind farms will put bills up.