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Donald Trump says he was ‘lured’ into building £1bn golf resort  

Credit:  BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk 25 April 2012 ~~

Tycoon Donald Trump has said he was “lured” into building a £1bn golf resort in Scotland with assurances that a nearby wind farm would not go ahead.

The US businessman is strongly opposing plans for an offshore development near his golf course in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Trump said he was assured by the then first minister Jack McConnell, and by Alex Salmond, that the project would not happen.

Lord McConnell and Mr Salmond have denied the claims.

Mr Trump’s comments came as he appeared in person before the Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee, which is conducting an inquiry into whether the Scottish government can meet its green energy targets.

Ministers want to see Scotland generating the equivalent of 100% of its own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020.

As the committee sat inside the Edinburgh parliament, two groups of pro and anti-wind farm activists faced each other outside the building, separated by police officers.

Mr Trump said he supported renewable developments like wave and tidal power, but said the use of wind farms was “one of the most serious problems Scotland will have or has had”.

The entrepreneur said they were inefficient, could not operate without big subsides and “killed massive amounts of wildlife”.

His comments are at odds with the Scottish government’s drive to turn the country into Europe’s green capital.

Mr Trump first mooted his plans for the resort, at Menie, as far back as 2006, when Labour politician Lord McConnell was Scottish first minister and Mr Salmond was SNP leader. His party went on to win the 2007 Scottish election.

Mr Trump told MSPs that when he heard of plans for 11 turbines off Aberdeen Bay, 2km (1.2 miles) from his golf resort, he considered moving the development to Ireland.

“Jack McConnell said it won’t be built,” Mr Trump told the committee.

“His people were telling various my people that it won’t happen. They talked about the Ministry of Defence would never approve it, because it had something to do with radar, and they talked about the shipping lanes, especially because it’s near Aberdeen.

“They said it won’t happen. It was very prevalent for a short period of time and then it totally disappeared.”

Mr Trump went on: “Based on that, I decided, I’ll go forward.

“In the meantime, Alex Salmond, when I discussed it with him towards the beginning, poo-pooed it and said: ‘You have a Ministry of Defence problem, you have all sorts of shipping lane problems, I wouldn’t worry about that’, and I continued to go forward.

“Now I invested tens of millions of pounds, I’ve completed my site ahead of schedule. I built something that is spectacular – even my enemies say the most spectacular – and really good.”

Mr Trump went on: “I felt betrayed, because I invested my money based on statements that were made to me.”

“Lots of very smart people with a lot of money are looking to invest in different parts of the world – when they see what happened to me and the way I’ve been treated, they’re not going to be investing in Scotland.”

“If Jack McConnell says to me and his representatives say to us that that won’t happen and then it goes away, and then I build and invest all this money and then it re-emerges – I don’t think that’s fair to an investor.”

“What they did is they lured me in, I spent this money, and now I might regret it.”

Mr Trump also attacked the concept of wind farms, telling MSPs: “Many countries have decided they don’t want wind because it doesn’t work without massive subsidies – it kills massive amounts of birds and wildlife and there are lots of other reasons.

“It’s a very inefficient form of energy. It’s an energy that, when you need it most, you don’t get it because the wind isn’t blowing.

“They are so unattractive, so ugly, so noisy and so dangerous that, if Scotland does this, I think Scotland will be in serious trouble – I think you’ll lose your tourism industry to Ireland and lots of other places that are laughing at what Scotland is doing.”

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is a £150m joint venture by utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.

But Mr Trump, whose organisation said it would be prepared to spend up to £10m fighting such developments, argued it would spoil the sea views for his customers at the Menie resort.

Scottish ministers have yet to make a decision on whether to approve the project.

Mr Trump said he did not want to see his resort “destroyed by having 11 monstrosities built looming over it, literally one mile away”.

The Scottish government said offshore wind was worth £30bn of investment to Scotland, and could create up to 28,000 Scottish jobs.

The Scottish government has also disputed Mr Trump’s claims over wind farms damaging tourism, saying visitor numbers – including those from North America – were on the rise.

When asked by the committee to provide statistical evidence that wind farms were killing tourism, Mr Trump replied: “I am the evidence”.

Source:  BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk 25 April 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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