Donald Trump has written to the First Minister for the fourth time in two months, urging the Scottish Government not to give the go-ahead for a proposed windfarm off the coast of Balmedie.
In the latest letter, forwarded to the Times by Trump representative Dan Borbet, Mr Trump argues that offshore windfarms in the United States have failed to deliver cost-effective energy, and that American energy producers have moved away from their use. To illustrate his case, the letter includes a study published by an American think-tank, the Institute for Energy Research, which highlights the pitfalls offshore windfarms have faced in the United States.
Arguing against offshore wind power, the paper – published on October 7 – lists the disadvantages as including the risk to offshore avian life, economic inefficiency, and the need for significant taxpayer subsidies. It includes examples of offshore wind farms generating electricity deemed too expensive, as well as comments from Mr Trump himself relating to impact of the proposed the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre project. The report states: “Other criticisms besides cost, view, and bird kills deal with its intermittency; noise pollution; government subsidies; low capacity factors; and small environmental contribution to name just a few.”
Based in Houston, Texas, the Institute for Energy Research promotes a free market in the energy sector, putting it in ideological opposition to government intervention and subsidy, often required for new forms of renewable energy. The Institute’s mission statement declares: “History shows that private property rights, market exchange, and the rule of law have resulted in affordable energy, improved living standards and a cleaner environment.”
The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is currently going through the planning process, having received € 40 million worth of backing from the European Union. The centre will be used to test prototype offshore wind turbines, and is backed by AREG – a group of Aberdeen-based businesses seeking a future in renewables for the north-east.
The project has been opposed by Trump International, however, on the basis that the turbines will be visible from the Menie Estate, and that they will impact on the local scenery.
A spokesman for the First Minister’s office confirmed that Mr Salmond had received the correspondence, and that Mr Trump would receive a reply. He refused to say whether the First Minister had formed an opinion on the subject, given that the project is still going through the planning process.
“An application for consent for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre was submitted to Marine Scotland on August 2. Ministers will assess every planning application on its merits taking into account the views of consultees, interested parties, and the public.
He added that the present administration had no knowledge of promises which may have been made to Mr Trump before the commencement of the golf course at Menie.
“The claims in Mr Trump’s original correspondence refers to the position five years ago, when he was submitting his Menie planning application in 2006 – before the current administration took office – and therefore we have no record or knowledge of what was said then.”