The SNP is boasting of how it will support a massive new wind farm (“Europe’s biggest wind farm to be built in Scotland”, July 22). No mention of how much subsidy will have to go into this. My guess would be at least £3bn eventually. Holyrood is subsidising wind turbines to the tune of £1bn a year which would be more than enough to give us all the 3p tax cut allowed. Doubtless, with its well-known enthusiasm for referendums, the SNP will wish to have one on which option we would prefer.
It is a 548mw farm which will, we are told, power 320,000 homes: ie, 1.6kw per home – enough to run a one-bar electric fire and a couple of lightbulbs, but the fridge will have to be off if the TV or internet is on.
Except that, yet again, figures are being used dishonestly. Wind turbines only produce about 27% of their rated power because it isn’t always, or even often, optimally windy so three days out of four those houses would have no power.
Wind turbines are an expensive distraction from the fact that the government has a duty not to make the lights go out and is actively preventing the new nuclear or even coal that can do so.
Meanwhile, Dubai (population 1.3 million) is building 4000mw of new coal-powered electricity generators which will mean it will have more electricity capacity than Scotland when Hunterston closes.
The SNP would rather we sink into the Third World than emulate that particular small country.
Planning permission has been given to build the giant Clyde wind farm near Abington at a cost of £600m. This, we are told, will greatly benefit the Scottish economy. By how much?
Please, Scottish and Southern Energy, let me know how much of this £600m investment will be spent in Scotland, and what the ongoing annual financial and employment benefits will be to Scotland once the wind farm is up and running.
I will not hold my breath for an answer.
23 July 2008
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