February 25, 2011
Editorials, Scotland

It’s time to halt the development of Scotland as an energy colony

The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 25 February 2011

The relentless destruction of Scotland’s wild places sanctioned by the Scottish Parliament is a national disgrace.

Scottish Natural Heritage figures show the proportion of visually unspoilt landscape collapsing from 41% to 28%, between 2002 and 2010, with the pace of windfarm development rocketing in the last two years (“Wild land protection calls after impact of wind farm developments increases”, The Herald, February 22).

Scotland owes the world nothing in terms of environmental pollution. We have a land mass two-thirds the size of England, with only one-eleventh of England’s population. Our population has remained at just five million for more than a century. If only the rest of the over-populated world had Scotland’s exemplary record in sustainability.

The duty of the Scottish Parliament is to preserve our wild land for the enjoyment, first and foremost, of the people of Scotland. The windfarms bring minimal revenue to Scotland but make vast profits, via public subsidy, for foreign firms and their overseas shareholders.

Scotland has long been self-sufficient in energy. Our country has no need to place industrial windfarms in our wild places. It is time to halt the development of Scotland as an energy colony for less sustainable nations and for foreign profiteers.

We should all be concerned about the loss of what remains of our wild land to countless windfarms, pylons and other industrial developments, as Scottish Natural Heritage urgently reminds us in its recent report and we should all support the John Muir Trust’s campaign to save this precious landscape before it is too late.

In its headlong rush to try to turn Scotland into the Saudia Arabia of renewable energy, the SNP Government has pushed ahead with these developments without sufficient regard for their location and consequent devastation of our land.

Voters have many pressing concerns in going to the polls on May 5, but this should certainly be one of them.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables says companies are investing in wind power “because it works”, (“Locals in line for a £2.5m windfarm windfall”, The Herald, February 23) . Well, they do produce some unreliable and uncontrollable electricity which isn’t much use to any modern society nor to the national grid,which is responsible for providing a dependable supply. However the system of financial incentives for renewables, all paid for by the electricity consumer, ensures that windfarm companies make huge profits. It would be more accurate to say they are investing in windpower because it gives them the best return on capital invested.

The cost of fossil fuel back-up for wind-generated electricity is never mentioned. This need for constant back-up is required to ensure there is a continuous dependable supply.

As a consequence of this there is no displacement of emission-producing electricity generation and all claims of CO2 reduction by windfarm companies are without justification.

It is surprising that Friends of the Earth Scotland do not recognise this.

Oracle Coalfields is planning to build a £184.7 million open-cast pit in Pakistan to supply 371 million tonnes of coal to power stations to solve the current chronic shortage of electricity.

China is opening two to three coal-fired power plants every week and has enough coal reserves for over 90 years.

Both Pakistan and China are using the coal they have to grow their economies and are not concerned over their escalating CO2 emissions.

The UK with only 2% and Scotland with only 0.2% of global CO2 emissions are shutting down coal-fired power stations to “save the planet” and building thousands of taxpayer-subsidised wind turbines, which are ineffective.

Germany, Denmark and Holland admit that their CO2 emissions have gone up despite having thousands of wind turbines.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/02/25/its-time-to-halt-the-development-of-scotland-as-an-energy-colony/