Wind Farm community benefit is a two edged sword. Perhaps the worst legacy that the race for wind will leave is the division of communities caused by the distribution of these payments.
Many developers restrict the expenditure to very narrowly defined areas, yet there is only so much that can be spent locally and those that do not benefit can feel very disassociated.
Also, where should the geographical dividing line be drawn? Some communities benefit but others just outside the area do not, although they may suffer the visual impact of the wind farm.
This has become such an issue that suggestions have been made that at least 40 per cent of the money is directed towards Highland Council funds.
Is the time not right to question whether the Highlands can absorb the number of wind farms planned for the area? Jason Rose’s comment (Courier 31.12.10) about “a rather selfish worry” about property prices seems ill informed as many people have found that the proposed development of wind farms in their area not only reduces the value of their property but makes it un-sellable. For those that need to move as part of their employment or wish to retire, this is not a “rather selfish worry”.
Wind Energy is neither as green as it is painted or as efficient as the proponents would like us to believe. Very hot weather and very cold weather are usually accompanied by high pressure weather systems which result in very little, if any, wind.
Therefore wind energy must be supplemented by, at the moment, fossil fuel technology. Germany is building two coal fired power station to support its wind industry. There are other proven systems of alternative energy but our politicians seem to be fixated on wind as a quick cure. Problem is that they are throwing our money away on it!
John Graham, Cluanie Farmhouse, Teanassie, Beauly.
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