Kinross-shire Civic Trust is calling on Scotland to step back from wind power and invest in research into other alternative energy sources.
Ahead of the SNP autumn conference, which is being held in Perth on Saturday, chairman Alistair Smith said the Government’s insistence on forcing wind turbines on the country needed to end.
He said there were “far more effective ways of generating renewable energy”, including nuclear energy, which he believes has been unfairly disregarded.
He called for a “long overdue” diversion of money from wind power to research into those other sources.
Just last week, First Minister Alex Salmond announced the Renewable Energy Investment Fund ( REIF), which will provide £103m for Scottish renewable energy projects, including wave and tidal energy and renewable district heating.
Nonetheless, the Scottish Government remains steadfast in its backing of wind power and wind turbines as a means of producing energy.
Mr Salmond has said that there need to be more wind turbines and that there “was no serious evidence that wind farms were incompatible with good scenery”.
Opposition has been building to the policies, however, and a major protest will be staged in Perth to coincide with his keynote speech at the conference, with local and national campaigners set to converge on the South Inch to march on Perth Concert Hall.
Mr Smith said the SNP required to change its energy priorities if the UK is to compete with new, emerging world markets and achieve the energy production required.
“Britain is an industrial nation and has been for over a couple of centuries,” he said.
“We are fighting our way out of one of the deepest recessions we have ever known and to do that it is imperative that we have a reliable and competitive energy source.
“Wind energy is very far from being that reliable source.
“The pro-wind lobby cites the government’s need to achieve the EU targets for renewable energy for 2020 and the need to encourage the investors to support the construction of windfarms, both on and offshore.
“Neither of these are sustainable targets for achieving a reliable and competitive energy system that will enable the United Kingdom to move forward and compete industrially with the rest of the world.
“There are far more effective ways of generating renewable energy, such as tidal energy, wave energy, solar energy and not forgetting hydroelectric energy, which has served us so well for many years, and, of course, nuclear energy.
“Nuclear technology has advanced far beyond the technologies of the last nuclear power stations that we built.
“Instead of pumping profits into the pockets of the few, we need to be placing that money into research and development for all these other energy sources and accelerating their progress, which we could have been doing years ago.
“We have to create an energy system that is tough, reliable and competitive.
“The Scottish Government is determined to achieve its target of 100% renewables by 2020 – a target that will never realistically be achieved because it will always be a numerical paper exercise.
“We must waken up to that reality before we pour more wasted money into these expensive wind sources,” Mr Smith went on.
“Finally, we must not forget the gross visual intrusion these wind farms and individual turbines have on our beautiful countryside.
“Scotland depends enormously on its tourist industry and attracting visitors to our striking landscapes.
“We will seriously downgrade that attraction by permitting these intrusions, and let us not forget the intrusions on ourselves.”
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