Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Power of Advertising

Last week the Scotsman carried a supplement, an advertorial paid for by the Renewables industry that promoted on shore windfarms in which it accused the "small and very vocal minority" of attacking the industry unfairly. Accusations of NIMBY-ism were tossed around.

Today the Scotsman launches a campaign against plans to introduce crippling new charges that threaten Scotland's renewable power industry. The paper says the, 'Energy watchdog Ofgem is considering the charges for wind and tidal energy schemes in the Highlands and Islands - where the wind and tides are stronger than almost anywhere else in Europe. Such a decision would hamper the fight against climate change and jeopardise 30,000 potential jobs.'

Of course there's no link between the advertorial, which netted the Scotsman a pretty penny, or the advertising spend of the renewables industry and their current campaign. But you have to ask yourself how the Scotsman has been sucked into believing that 30,000 'potential' jobs are at risk.

The problem remains one of 'transporting' electricity from remote areas to where it is consumed. It's as if the Scotsman has not noticed the arguments over the Cairngorm pylons, nor is it aware that electricity leaks out of the cables the longer distances that it's carried.

The Scotsman is giving a voice to the Renewables industry that is rich and powerful, one that has consistently cried foul despite the huge subsidies paid to windfarm developers and landowners. The paper's stance is one driven purely by advertising spend and does them little credit. On the other hand with their rapidly falling circulation it matters less, although it is read by those who have the power to makes decisions. Alex Salmond in particular has gone from questioning on shore wind farms to opening new windfarm sites. The worm has turned, and like everyone else in politics, for him the scent of power is seductive.

The Scotsman would do better to have a campaign to save electricity, to benefit the less well off with schemes that save them money and to help all us by promoting the idea that in our cities advertising hoardings are turned off at 2 a.m. and offices don't have their lights blazing all night long.

1 comment:

Gus A said...

Actually the real solution would be to decentralise the whole grid. But if we dont allow renewables to grow now they'll never get the investment they need.