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Stirling conference to hear wind power arguments

Stirling is to play host to Scotland’s first national conference exploring the cost of wind energy.

Scotland Against Spin (SAS) has organised the day-long event, which will take place at the Alberts Halls on Sunday November 24.

Linda Holt, from SAS, said the event is not just for those who oppose windfarms but added the conference could not be coming at a better time due to the row over rising utility bills – and how green levies are pushing prices up even further.

The National Audit Office has claimed power bills could continue to rise above inflation for the next 17 years because of the cost of improving infrastructure, building power stations and the switch to greener sources of energy.

One power company, EDF, has already said it will keep its next planned rise to 3.9% if the UK government does lift some green levies.

Ms Holt said people will hear arguments for and against wind power at the event.

She added: “It is a public meeting, it is not just for our members.

“People who oppose wind turbines tend to do it on the basis that they don’t want them next to them but it’s only later they realise there is an economic argument.”

Ms Holt said the costs of investing in wind power, either on or offshore, are too prohibitive and not just in terms of the subsidies power companies receive.

“Wind energy is very destabilising for the grid – they have problems with that in Germany – so these sort of issues need discussed,” she said.

“We will also need to build all the substations and that has not been added to the cost. The idea that Scotland can export energy without these is just ridiculous.”

Speakers include academics and industry experts, including Edinburgh University economist Professor Gordon Hughes and Sue Kearns, head of the Scottish Government’s Renewables Routemap.

Scottish Government energy minister Fergus Ewing will not be at the event, despite an invitation.

Ms Holt said: “We have invited every single councillor, MSP, MP and MEP in Scotland but almost none of them is coming.

“Ninety-five per cent did not even have the courtesy to reply,” she said.

Anyone who wants to attend should email info@scotlandagainstspin.org or call 07715 106032.