There must be no more large-scale onshore wind farms. Too much damage has
been done already
ONCE again Vicky Allan has used her column to highlight one the great
injustices of today – the overriding generosity of UK and Scottish
governments towards private sector energy companies at the expense of the
wider public interest (“Is Scotland sleepwalking from Big Oil into Big
Wind?”, The Herald, January 25). In her references to the recent Common
Weal report “ScotWind: Privatising Scotland’s Future Again” and other
sources, Ms Allan correctly explains how, in the necessary development of
wind-based renewable energy resources, we are moving towards “a future in
which profit will likely be prioritised over fairness”.
Many will agree with her plea for a new system in which community and wider
public interest is much more firmly embedded in energy policy before the
next phase of offshore wind power development. The Norwegian Sovereign
Wealth Fund, established through North Sea oil revenue taxation, is the
perfect example of how a country, our near neighbour, can bring sustained
economic benefit to all its citizens and have enormous influence worldwide
through the power of its financial investment policies.
More immediately, however, is the need for a fundamental change in Scottish
planning policy as it relates to energy developments. It is no longer
acceptable for planning approvals to be given for industrial-scale wind
farm developments on land. Our renowned Scottish landscapes, famous for
their wild beauty and skylines, unmodified since the last Ice Age, are
being desecrated by monster turbines well over 100 metres tall to the
vertical blade tip. Too much damage has already been done. A planning
prohibition needs to be put in place immediately by the Scottish Government
to protect tourism, community and outdoor recreation interests.
Any more development of these monster turbines on land is purely commercial
greed and entirely unnecessary, now that we know that offshore wind is the
future. The success of the recent ScotWind auction is the perfect
demonstration of how the future for commercial-scale wind energy
development is offshore. Any future onshore wind development should be
strictly limited to small-scale projects, based on farmer, crofter or local
community initiatives, in which no turbine exceeds 50 metres in height. The
monster turbines should all be offshore from now on, where the smooth,
laminar flow of wind provides a far more efficient basis for meeting
national energy requirements, than is found in the turbulent air flow over
land.
No wonder Norway has virtually no monster turbines on land – their
governments safeguard the wild landscapes, as well as the economic health
of their citizens, and look far out to sea for their future wind energy
developments. Scottish ministers need to learn some lessons, very quickly,
from their counterparts across the sea.
Dave Morris, Kinross.

SAS Volunteer

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