Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on Alex Salmond, accusing him of leading Scotland to financial and aesthetic destruction as a result of the Scottish Government’s support for wind energy.
The American tycoon, however, believes the First Minister will come to his senses before it is too late.
Mr Trump has again written to Mr Salmond saying many countries were stopping their subsidies of wind farms or, “as many are starting to call them, monstrosities”. He is outraged by plans for 11 offshore turbines near his Aberdeenshire golf course, which opens next month.
He wrote: “Because they are not economically viable, you are leading Scotland down the path of financial and aesthetic destruction.
“The massive subsidies and tax increases the public will be forced to bear are not sustainable. Wind energy is highly unpredictable and expensive. I feel certain you will realise this, like other countries, before it is too late for Scotland.”
This latest intervention from the billionaire came as new figures showed Scotland is continuing to produce record amounts of renewable energy, and is improving on last year’s dramatic increases.
Provisional figures for the first quarter of this year show a big increase in renewables output – 4590 gigawatt hours (GWh) – a 45.5% rise compared with the first three months of last year. In 2011, 13,735 GWh of renewable energy were generated in Scotland, almost double the amount generated in 2006.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said great progress was being made towards the goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of the country’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020.
About 35% of Scotland’s electricity needs would have come from renewables last year – assuming consumption levels were similar to 2010 – exceeding the Scottish Government’s interim target of 31%.
Mr Ewing described the 45.5% increase as “particularly encouraging when you consider 2011 saw the highest output from renewable energy to date”.
He added: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring every community in Scotland benefits from renewable energy.”
Projects representing £750 mil-lion worth of investment were switched on in 2011, with a further £46 billion of investment in the pipeline, Mr Ewing said.
He added: “Scotland is a world leader in green energy and our targets reflect the scale of our natural resources, the strength of our energy capabilities and the value we place on creating new, sustainable industries.”
Responding to the record levels of renewables output, Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewable energy is becoming an ever important part of our energy mix. Not only does the renewables industry employ more than 11,000 people in Scotland, it’s helping reduce our carbon emissions and insulate us from volatility in the gas market, which has been responsible for recent major hikes in energy bills.”
WWF Scotland’s head of policy, Dr Dan Barlow, called for the continued and rapid deployment of all forms of renewables alongside investment in energy efficiency, and said that this “will help create jobs, reduce pollution and protect households from volatile fossil fuel prices”.
But there is growing concern over the rush for onshore wind, with both Fife and Aberdeenshire councils calling for a moratorium on wind farm applications because planning bosses are unable to cope with the volume. Meanwhile, the John Muir Trust and Mountaineering Council for Scotland have called for a halt to turbines being erected in Scotland’s wild areas and mountains.
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