Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is Alex Salmond a Liar?

Back in January 2007 Alex Salmond was unequivocal. "There is a real difficulty with public acceptance of onshore wind. There should be a cap on future developments. We should concentrate the development of onshore wind into suitable areas. He went to say that financial support for onshore wind farms should be looked at again as he believed there was a danger onshore wind developers were getting too much financial support. Of course all that was done in order to help the SNP get elected and gain votes in areas where there was rising opposition to wind farms being built against public opinion.

This week the farce minister said that Scotland was on the brink of a renewables revolution as he gave the go-ahead for the largest wind farm in Europe. He told the World Renewable Energy Congress in Glasgow that his government has given the green light had been given to a 152-turbine project in South Lanarkshire. The chairman of the congress hailed Mr. Salmond as the "saint of renewable energy".

This volte face from Mr. Salmond is not totally unexpected; he is after all a politician. But such is the courting of the Scottish government by the renewables industry that even I’m staggered by the complete change in attitude. Is he stupid? Does he not understand that wind turbines are inefficient, make little money for Scotland – other than for the landowners and the renewable companies, which are often foreign owned? Here in the Lammermuir Hills we are still waiting for a decision on the Fallago Ridge wind farm that was the matter of a public enquiry in January and February this year. The longer it goes on without a decision the more likely it is to be approved and the greater the damage to these hills.

Some questions. Why if wind farms are so benign are they not being placed along the M8 corridor, close to where the majority of Scotland’s electricity is consumed and more convenient for export via the grid? Are there any windfarms in Mr. Salmond’s constituencies? In fact how many windfarms have been approved in SNP constituencies as opposed to opposition constituencies? It might make for interesting analysis.


Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Sometimes these people just get excited by new offers, not unlike Jim Hacker.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time I was keen on wind generation but now I feel it is only appriate at a domestic level as an adjunct to pv solar collection in order to save on electricity bills.
Unfortunately there has to be considerable financial outlay to get this up and running. We had solar on the island but never got round to wind. There was enough of it - but so there is in political circles.

Richard Havers said...

Aileni, if the money being pumped into subsidising huge wind farms went in at the domestic level then things could be very different. No one want wants to talk about saving electricity they just want to create more so that multinationals make more money...