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Friday, 30 September 2011

BUSINESS LEADERS CONDEMN SALMOND’S ENERGY POLICY

In a week where Druim Ba Sustainable Energy has decided to go to appeal after having their planning application for a massive wind farm rejected by Highland Council, Scotland’s business leaders are getting their act together and attacking Alex Salmond’s ruinous energy policy.

Thanks to Lyndsey for providing the link to this article from the Daily Telegraph:

The costs of Alex Salmond’s green energy revolution are “going through the roof” and threaten to bankrupt companies by doubling energy bills, business leaders have warned the First Minister.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have warned relying on renewable energy could see consumer bills double

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have warned relying on renewable energy could see consumer bills double Photo: PA

By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor

6:00AM BST 29 Sep 2011

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) said electricity is currently about nine times more expensive to generate from wind farms than gas-powered plants.

Mike Salter, the SCC chairman, told the organisation’s annual dinner that Government energy experts predict greater reliance on “very expensive” renewables will lead to consumers’ electricity bills doubling. He warned this would hold back the Scottish economy and lead to businesses going under. If this is the consequence, he questioned whether Mr Salmond’s “total commitment” to green energy is “misguided”.

In a double whammy for hard-pressed companies, he said the SNP’s decision to increase business taxes by £849 million threatens to “suck the life” from the economy.

The damning intervention came shortly after Mr Salmond was among the audience for a speech by Al Gore, the former US Vice President, at a “green finance” conference in Edinburgh.

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Mr Gore said Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy, but admitted that wave and tide energy is at “an earlier stage of investigation or development”.

The First Minister has set a target that Scotland generate the equivalent of all the country’s electricity from green sources by the end of the decade, but industry experts have questioned whether this timetable is possible.

Rupert Soames, the chief executive of Aggreko, one of the country's largest energy generators, has described the strategy as “bonkers” because it failed to recognise the “cold realities” of financing expensive new forms of green technology.

Mr Salter did not use such outspoken language but made clear to the audience, which included Mike Russell, the SNP Education Minister, and Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, that he shared similar concerns. Referring to offshore wind farms, he told the dinner in Glasgow: “The costs of these projects is going through the roof. “The Scottish government have committed to have the majority of generation coming from this very expensive source by 2020. All I say at this time is- have a care!

“If as a consequence the rest of the economy is disadvantaged then perhaps such a total commitment is misguided. Other lower cost technologies are available.”

These include nuclear energy, which Mr Salmond has discarded. Mr Salter said a recently-announced wind farm in the Irish Sea will cost £1.6 billion, 25 per cent more than projections in spring last year.

Citing Mott MacDonald, a Government energy consultancy, he said the cost of generating electricity from wind farms is approaching 19p per kilowatt hour (kWh), the unit of electrical energy. This compares with the wholesale “spot price” of gas, which costs between 1.75p and 2p. Mr Salter said electricity currently costs consumers about 12.4p per kWh.

But Mott MacDonald estimates this will double to 25p thanks to the additional expense of wind farms and public subsidies for the renewable energy industry.

The SCC also attacked the SNP’s spending plans, announced last week, which rely on generating an extra £849 million in business rates over the next three years. The money is needed to fund populist policies, such as free bus passes for the elderly.

Mr Salter warned the tax hike would harm job creation, adding: “The balance seems to have been lost somewhere. It is fine to have a social agenda funded directly by government, but the biggest and best social agenda must be to have people gainfully employed and paying their way.

“Please! Think again before this misguided regime sucks the life out of SME (small and medium enterprises) in Scotland.”

26 comments:

  1. When we talk about Planning and Tourism we always suggest that Salmond never listens. I wonder whether he will listen to Mike Salter's reasoned words or will he prefer to believe Al Gore's discredited lies?

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  2. Yesterday, oop here in the North East, Chris Huhne likened wind turbines to windmills in Constable paintings - about which everybody goes "aaaah!" He thinks they're "lovely" and a real improvement to any landscape.

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  3. Chris Huhne likened wind turbines to windmills in Constable paintings - about which everybody goes "aaaah!" He thinks they're "lovely" and a real improvement to any landscape.

    Well along with Salmond and Gore, he's a complete ******* ****.

    Insert your own appropriate words or phrase to complete the sentence!

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  4. If it wasn't so serious it would make a good comedy.

    I dare someone (not Alan or me)to make this article into a thread on OM.

    Light blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance while Parky and crowd immolate themselves like moths to a candle.

    :)

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  5. WFA: Alex listens to his pollsters and as long as they are telling him that things are AOK he can do what he likes. It's only when he loses ground that he will take stock, like many politicians.

    That's why the Scottish electorate needs to be told why their electricity bills are going to double. That's what turns electors on in the Central belt, not 'fancy views' in boggy hills where they have no intention to visit.

    When they realise that voting for Alex means paying for huge hikes in their bills, the loss of competitiveness of their industrial base and consequent loss of jobs, then and only then will they consider not voting for him.
    Then he will listen.
    But it will all be far too late.
    Let's face it: Scotland is stuffed.

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  6. Mike: I'll be buggered if I join the Liberal party.

    Meanwhile, Miriam, (Mrs Nick Clegg) is fucking us all over (that's a technical term that only economists understand) as she is a Board Member of the Spanish Wind Farm developer “Acciona” and set to make a small fortune from the wind farms they are developing in Britain.

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  7. Andrew, (Mad'n'Bad):
    This is a blog of repute (Ha!) and we'll have no bloody asterisks on these pages, thank you very much!

    Besides, "fracking twerp" has one more asterisk per word.

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  8. Robin: Anyone can make what appears to be a good decision in a rising market and currently Alex's stock is high.

    However his legacy will be the ruining of the Scottish economy by jacking up the energy prices to Scottish manufacturers compared to their international competitors.

    He may well perform with brilliance at First Minister's Questions, but how will he perform when he is quizzed, eventually, with screwing up the economy and the wild land in the process?

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  9. You might think so, but I couldn't possibly comment :)

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  10. Don't make me depressed or I'll have to resort to a good Glen Ord. At todays price I can't afford that much. On the 22nd October, Wee 'Eck and his cronies are in Inverness for their SNP conference. We hope to make it a memorable one! Alan, Scotland's Highlands aren't quite stuffed yet and we intend to go down fighting. Highland Council's latest Draft Supplementary Guidance: Onshore Wind Energy (Apr 2011) states "Effects on industries for which Highland's Landscape is important - for example Tourism. recreation, film-shooting. At Druim Ba meeting all councilors that spoke featured heavily on Tourism. We urgently need an independant Tourism Report to rubbish the poor 2008 report that Salmond and Swinney trot out each time. It is terrible and Helen McDade of JMT has rubbished it's earlier version (2007) The latest version is a re-statement of the original with a few national statistics brought up to date. Only features a limited area of Scotland and ignores the Cairngorms or Inverness, two of the largest tourist areas in Scotland. have a look at my blog: http://wp.me/p1svAI-lC Hope the short link works.

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  11. On the upside:subsidies to build eyesores which generate somewhere on the scale between paltry and negligible. Plus the opportunity to charge a premium price for units which probably never got produced in the first place.

    On the downside: the risk of an Ofgen spokesperson saying something mildly disapproving on 5 Live.

    It's a tough call for the executives of these energy companies. They earn every penny of their bonuses.

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  12. Hi WFA.
    Many thanks for mentioning Helen's excellent rebuttal of that dreadful report. It gets trotted out time and time again (only yesterday, in fact it was trotted out on the Outdoors Magic forum IN DEFENCE OF WIND FARMS! - & that on an outdoors forum.. I despair at times)
    I watched Alex Salmond speaking at Elgin on regional STV : He is utterly convinced that his approached is the correct one. This is not a man who is lining his pockets: He genuinely believes that what he is doing is right for Scotland.

    If only he had the time and inclination we could sit down with him at a desk and computer and show him the facts about wind energy and what it is going to cost in terms of money and environmental damage.
    He is an intelligent guy: he is not being told all the facts by his staff.

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  13. Byeways: Nail on the head. It must be difficult having to take such risky decisions. How *do* they sleep at night?

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  14. Mike Knipe refers to Huhne's love of turbines. I suggest he forwards him the truism: "One wind turbine may be a kinetic sculpture, thousands of them are a visual pollutant". Alan. We are inviting Salmond, Swinney and Ewing to the Aigas Field Centre later in the year. Posh lunch - can he refuse. The idea is that they listen to us for once. If they accept, and don't hold your breath, you may get an invite!

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  15. Finally I found some figures regarding the ratio between increase in installed base and increase in production.

    From today's Herald:

    "despite a sharp increase in the number of wind farms installed – wind and wave energy sites rose from 135 in 2009 to 339 last year, mostly because of wind development – there was only a 6% increase in the amount of power produced."

    So the number of sites (it would be good to have the number of turbines involved) more than doubled and yet there was only a 6% increase.

    Exactly as forecast by those still using their brain.

    Alan, as for Salmond: he's got a predicament. Where do you take Scotland next? There's still a lot of oil and gas in the North Sea but London is unlikely to ever let go of that. By and large, Scots don't like working in the service industry (sweeping generalisation, I know, but they've just announced the new 10,000 jobs being created in tourism won't be filled by Scots, they just can't be bothered).

    So, Salmond, who used to be an economist, must have sat down at his desk and thought: how do I square the budget? Simple. Get 12,000+ turbines installed and the subsidies/tax income will pay for my bills. I wouldn't be surprised if once Scotland becomes independent he will introduce a flat tax on renewables on top of that.

    So, on the one side he's got a guaranteed steady flow of subsidies, on the other there is a small bunch of middle-aged bearded gits moaning and whining about the loss of wild land. No wonder he went for the other option!

    Maybe the only way to convince him, rather than posh lunches, would be to take him on a wild camp, get him to listen to the plovers, watch the sun rise on an inversion, maybe, just maybe, he'd have second thoughts.

    But the economic case of the easy solution of going for the gravy train of a steady inflow of subsidies must look too strong to him.

    I'd love this country to become a genuinely modern economy of ideas and innovation. We powered the industrial revolution after all. Salmond went instead for the old and frankly demeaning road of milking the subsidies from Westminster and Brussels and that is a real shame. Besides, the ones making the most money are Spanish, German and Danish companies. And we are importing alien structures first devised for the flatlands of Denmark into this landscape. No wonder they genuinely bright Scots are still leaving for other shores.

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  16. Love to take Salmond somewhere wild and remote! Just have to brush off all those hangers on that run after him. First ten minutes and their high heals will stop them dead.
    On the side of the Scottish parliament there is a verse from Gerard Manley Hopkins. I will go all cultural now and include the whole poem.

    Inversnaid
    This darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam Flutes and low to the lake falls home. A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth Turns and twindles over the broth Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning, It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning. Degged with dew, dappled with dew, Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through, Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern, And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn. What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins
    The quote at Holyrood. The final verse. "What would the world be.... Long live the weeds and wildness yet".

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  17. All very poetic John G. I would strap Salmond, Huhne and the SNP MSP, who wrote to me today, to a bloody turbine blade each and watch them pray that the wind doesn't blow! - I quote below exactly from this nameless (for now) MSP:

    I do not accept the subsidies are over-inflated. We need to encourage wind farm development and hopefully it will require less subsidy in the future.



    Clearly the wind farms help the environment and they have the bonus that the turbines look really good. I enjoy seeing them and walking amongst them. Much of the countryside is pretty boring without them.



    I will certainly be urging Alex Salmond not to change course on this.


    Suggestions on what I do with this please!

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  18. Come the next election you can send copies of his letter to every household in his constituency via the press so that they can see what he thinks. By then the wind farms will be everywhere and the locals will have learned to hate them

    And the guy who loves them.

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  19. Lyndsey, who exactly is is this "Nameless for Now" MSP F*ck*r?

    Good for you for getting a response - now name him/her.

    These politicians are purely elected through our (and I am a Scottish voter) votes. The only power that they presently hold comes through the minority who chose to vote in our last election. They are in the public domain, we pay their salaries, and you should have no fear whatsoever about naming them directly.

    So. Tell us who this person is. You owe them nothing.

    Although I live in the Scottish Borders I have no problem whatsoever in directing comments to the current rapscallions outwith my region who pretend to represent our national interests.

    Who is this wretch?

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  20. Humphrey is correct!
    He needs to be [b]Named and Shamed[/b].
    He appears to be basing much of his opinion on his own subjective opinion, and if we do not target these people directly (they are after all representatives of the voter, although sometimes that is hard to believe).
    So please do let us know who it is so that we can ALL write to him/her.
    It would be even better to know the full transcript of this.

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  21. Much of the countryside is pretty boring without them.

    To add to my last comment.
    That is the whole point.
    It is the very nothingness and wild and desolate nature of these mountains that make them so valuable.

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  22. Easy guys.........I am still corresponding with the MSP in question. Not in the vain hope of converting them but rather they drop themselves in it further. Although this morning's offering was substantially toned down. Don't worry all will be revealed in due course.

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  23. "Much of the countryside is pretty boring without them..."

    I'm sure those in the tourist industry are, even as we type, gearing up for the influx of new visitors heading to Scotland to look at the turbines. Perhaps Ian Allan could issue a turbine spotter's companion.

    If this wasn't a respectable blog I would use an expression containing profane language.

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  24. Lindsey, here are two questions you might ask of that MSP:

    1) if turbines do so much to enhance the landscape, in his view, could he/she explain why non tourist publication/website EVER features a wind farm in their material? If Scotland is a more attractive country now than before the hills were littered with turbines, surely that is a fact that must be broadcast to the world. And yet it is one that is carefully kept away from the publicity videos from the likes of VisitScotland...

    2) he may get a kick out of turbines (maybe MSPs are taking a leaf out of the kinky habits of 1990s Tory MPs...) but whether he likes them or not, the serious issue is the damage wind farms do to upland ecosystems. You could perhaps provide this link:

    http://www.windaction.org/?module=uploads&func=download&fileId=1192

    to an old document regarding the Braes of Doune wind farm. The pictures there are horrific. And it is not true that lessons have been learnt. The Griffin wind farm shows nothing has changed and if one could be bothered to go there and document the outrage which is taking place in the name of 'green' issues, there'd be an outcry. It's a perennial shame to investigative journalism that no-one dares documenting what's happening to our hills. It's not 'fashionable' to criticise wind turbines, unfortunately, and your correspondent simply goes with the Zeitgeist, I'm afraid. I just wish JMT paid a photographer to go around and take pictures of the 'new' Scotland and then publish a dossier on that (plus website). Or one might hack into Visitscotland and put up the face of 'new' Scotland. That'll get visitors to flock here in their thousands, if your MSP is to be believed.

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  25. Please circulate far and wide.....


    SNP PARTY CONFERENCE

    EDEN COURT
    INVERNESS

    20TH - 23RD OCTOBER 2011

    THERE IS A GROWING MOVEMENT ACROSS SCOTLAND AGAINST THE PROLIFERATION OF WIND FARM DEVELOPMENT

    HERE IS A CHANCE TO MAKE OUR FEELINGS KNOWN TO THE PEOPLE WHO GOVERN US


    A GATHERING OF WIND FARM CAMPAIGNERS ON SATURDAY 22ND OCTOBER OUTSIDE EDEN COURT WILL SHOW THE STRENGTH OF FEELING IN SCOTLAND

    IT IS EXPECTED THE DEMONSTRATION WILL TAKE PLACE FROM 12PM UNTIL THE PARTY MEMBERS LEAVE AT THE END OF THE DAY AT AROUND 5PM

    PLEASE COME IF YOU CAN, ASK OTHERS TO ATTEND & FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO ANY YOU THINK WOULD LIKE TO COME - THE MORE THE BETTER

    MR SALMOND NEEDS TO KNOW THAT WE MAY BE SMALLER IN NUMBER THAN THOSE WHO LIVE IN THE CITIES
    BUT WE SHOULD STILL MATTER


    BRING PLACARDS, BANNERS, LEAFLETS, PETITIONS, LETTERS

    IF POSSIBLE BRING AT LEAST ONE BANNER WITH YOUR REGION ON THAT IS LARGE ENOUGH TO BE EASILY READ BY SNP MEMBERS AND THE MEDIA

    LET'S SHOW THEM THIS IS A SCOTLAND WIDE PROTEST

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  26. SNP Conference - little more info

    We are trying to get the media there at the start of the demonstration. So if all can assemble at 12pm I will send to press etc for them to be there around 12.30pm. We need big numbers this time to make, hopefully, the front page! Please come if you can.

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Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!