Renewable energy is the way ahead but not through “grossly inefficient” wind farms which gobble up Scottish Government subsidies, it has been claimed.
A new group formed to fight the latest wind farm proposal for Moray aims to galvanise community opposition to the plan.
Save Our Scenic Moray (SOS Moray) has been created in Dufftown to try and repel a proposal for a 70-plus turbine development at Dorenell Farm, Cabrach.
The action group was formed three weeks ago following public exhibitions by developer Infinergy on the wind farm development on the Glenfiddich Estate.
Andy Cameron, chairman of SOS Moray, said: “We are all for renewable energy but wind farms are not the way to go.”
Wind farms cannot be relied upon to produce electricity consistently and will never lead to the closure of nuclear and fossil fuel power stations, he said.
Mr Cameron claimed the Dorenell proposal would generate around £35 million a year in public subsidies and a similar amount in revenue from electricity sold to suppliers.
The proposal would also generate £2 million a year for the landowner and just £400,000 a year for a local community fund, claimed Mr Cameron.
The group’s main concern is the environmental and visual impact of the development on the local landscape.
“The hill itself is set in an area of beautiful remote moorland, the like of which is disappearing at a steady rate. The area is truly remote and the habitat of much wildlife.
“The effect that this or any other wind farm could have on wildlife and habitat is always a matter for much well-reasoned argument, however, its devastating visual impact is beyond question.”
Mr Cameron said Dorenell Hill is 700 metres high and each of the turbines is 120 metres, a total height of over 800m.
“This would mean that when anyone climbing the impressive Corbett of Ben Rinnes (840m) some six miles away would see and be on an eye-level with these monsters. The same for Creagan á Chaisc near Big O Brown 13 miles away and even Ben MacDui in the Cairngorms some 27 miles away.
“This will surely have a serious impact on tourism. What is the point for a walker/hill climber coming all the way to Moray or the Cairngorms to see a wind turbine at eye level or above them?”
The planning application has yet to be submitted by Infinergy and it is so big it will be considered by the Scottish Government, with Moray Council a statutory consultee.
“Renewable energy is fantastic but wind farms are poor and this is something we will all regret 25 years down the line when we are left with massive lumps of concrete in the ground (the wind turbine bases),” he said.
The action group has another meeting on December 18 in Dufftown and is in the process of constructing its own website, http://www.sosmoray.org
By Chris Saunderson
14 December 2007
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