There are few issues that are currently more contentious in Scotland than wind energy.
The Scottish Government has ambitious plans to ensure that all of the country’s electricity requirements are met through renewable sources by 2020.
Although many people agree with the need to reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint, a great number of people believe that wind energy is not the answer.
They believe that the giant turbines, whether at sea or on land, are not just unsightly but also threaten Scotland’s natural heritage. Many believe the technology is inefficient and that the sector could not survive without hefty subsidies. Communities also feel powerless to prevent windfarms from being built in the first place.
The Scottish Government claims that not only will wind energy help protect the environment, it has the potential to transform the country economically.
First Minister Alex Salmond has said thousands of jobs could be created by the development of on and offshore wind turbines, with areas like Tayside and Fife both among the likely beneficiaries thanks to their proximity to the North Sea, where several sites have been earmarked for windfarms.
Nevertheless, many remained unconvinced. US tycoon Donald Trump may have stolen the headlines in his battle against an offshore windfarm near his controversial golf course on Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire but there are thousands of others equally sceptical about their benefits across Scotland.
Now a protest march is planned for Perth during the SNP conference. Mr Salmond has, so far, refused to be blown off course when it comes to renewable energy but will not want to alienate voters with the independence referendum pencilled in for 2014.
A sizeable protest could make it a deeply uncomfortable conference for the First Minister.
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