Monday, 26 March 2012

Scottish Renewables: A chilling invitation

This abstract below is taken from Scottish Renewables Invitation for their Annual Conference and Exhibition which is taking place on Tuesday & Wednesday of this week in Edinburgh.

It makes chilling reading:

“Scotland has some of the most stretching renewable energy and climate change targets in Europe, with ambitions to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of annual electricity demand and 30 per cent of all energy demand from renewables by 2020. With its wealth of natural resources, comparatively undeveloped land mass and favourable political climate, Scotland will make a disproportionate contribution to UK and European efforts to decarbonise the power sector and to meet commitments on renewable energy and climate change.

However, despite spectacular progress over the last few years, and an acceleration of investment in sectors such as offshore wind, wave and tidal development, significant challenges lie between us and the objectives set out in the Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy - not least the heated public and political debate over rising energy prices, the road to economic recovery, and the merits of competing energy options.”

I highlighted the text myself: “COMPARATIVELY UNDEVELOPED LANDMASS”

Links to the invite for the conference and the line up of the speakers (a pretty powerful bunch) can be found by clicking HERE and HERE

What does everyone think about this? Comments are welcome.


  1. Doesn't sound good news. Especially when the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens have recently all given their backing to the SNPs renewable policy.

    1. My sons have walked all over Scotland prior to it's destruction by wind power stations. I now have a grandchild, with another on the way. They will never walk in and experience the wild places of Scotland because it will all be trashed by the time they are old enough to walk the Highlands.
      It's utterly tragic.

  2. It's a love-fest of the usual suspects. And you're right. It is chilling. The 'Winning Hearts and Minds' session should be particularly interesting. Expect a visit from the thought police soon enough, Alan. But although chilling, it is nothing new. When the Clearances where planned, they were having dinners in London which were exactly the sort of occasion they're going to stage tomorrow in Edinburgh (luckily I'm working so I can't go and get myself arrested). And someone will have said the Highlands were an undeveloped land mass with all those folks inconveniently living in the glens.

    Twenty years ago Edinburgh airport was no bigger than the one in Dundee. Last time I was there there were zillions of people flying off to Malaga or whatever. And while people are going abroad for their holidays and to experience real wilderness, the Highlands will be industrialised, they will become the place where folks go for an exciting weekend using 4x4 or what have you. They'll just leave a few turbine-free bus-routes for the shortbread box holidays. The rest will be "re-industrialised". It used to be the last wilderness in Europe, a by-product of the Clearances that ironically, and cruelly, became a very special place, indeed, without question a unique place, unmatched anywhere else in the world. Maybe it's right that they should become lived-in places again. But it feels wrong. It's being done for the wrong reasons. And it will bankrupt this country. For these guys haven't got a clue what they're doing.

    1. You're spot on Andy. History is repeating itself and for exactly the same reasons. Money.
      The clearances came about so that "unprofitable" land could be made to turn a profit with sheep and now landowners see the turbines as the new Bonanza.
      Governments see it as a way to meet rash promises made late at night in Europe, and energy businesses see it as a way to guarantee profits.
      Once more the landscape is changed irreparably.

  3. Thanks Alan for that cheerful note just before I go to bed.

    Unfortunately 'comparatively undeveloped landmass' often means that there are not enough people advocating against each individual industrialisation. There are loads of applications in areas that are totally off most peoples radars and will slip through unoticed. Spectacular, wild places too especially in the far north.

    I agree with Andy, in a couple of decades there will be just a few select turbine free spots. We can all drive through Glencoe and admire the 'wilderness' before rejoining the turbine landscape.

    1. Sorry James
      The complete and utter bar steward that I undoubtedly am, I post these late at night so they start everyone's day with a shudder. Your day can only improve from then on...

    2. The far north west now has two proposal: One either side of Loch Shin. I'll be writing more about them later next week. It's appalling.

    3. More than two Alan. Have you looked at Sutherland lately?

      They're filling the spaces as fast as they can.

    4. Thank you for that link, Brenda. It is ghastly; Looking at that map it appears that the land grab is accelerating now into the wild and more remote areas of Scotland.
      This is heartbreaking.

  4. I am grateful that I may just get the opportunity to walk these hills with my son and daughter before the desecration is complete.
    Sadly they may never see the Monadhliath or the Balnacaans.
    And my grandchildren.
    I am hoping they may emigrate to a country that has a better policy. If such a place exists by then.

    1. Indeed.
      It has Nothing to do with saving the planet.
      And everything to do with 30 pieces of silver.

      They teach history so we can learn from the past.
      May as well knock that one off the curriculum and replace it with 'Optimising Profit through underhand practices'.

      Brings new meaninh to the term
      Playing the Trump card!

  5. Turbine free bus routes. Wishful thinking. From Beauly to Drumnadrochit was a much heralded bus route for those from the North and those that Dock at Invergordon on their cruise ships. Will this area soon be devastated by Druim Ba and Balmacaan? we/re fighting it but with one hand behind our backs as we can't afford the high cost QC's that DBSE have brought in. And who is the QC. None other than Ann faulks, the QC for Donald Trump. Have they no shame? Will the Loch Ness area become Alan's ring of steel. I suspect Edinburgh will experience a horrendous noise next week of snout's at the trough!

    1. Turbine free bus routes, I don’t think so John.
      At the speed Scotland is being desecrated, it won’t be long before the well-known coach tour company changes its name from “Lochs and Glens” to “Turbines and Power Lines”!

    2. If Salmond is so set on Wind power stations, why not plat a few turbines on Arthur's Seat? It would be a ringing endorsement of his policy to destroy Scotland's heritage.

      If Dave Cameron would like to follow this example then surely turbines strategically placed on Stickle Pike & Harrison's Stickle would be cracking? Think of the increase in tourism to the underdeveloped Lake District!

    3. Hi Geoff
      I have to say that the policy of not shoving windfarms along tourist routes is confused! Presumably this is done so the coach parties don't get to see the industrialisation of the Highlands. So - we are looking after their sensibilities, but not those of the hillwalker.

      This shows that the Scottish Government knows that turbines are bad for the tourism trade. Obviously, in the minds of the SG, the Lochs and Glens trade is far more valuable than the hill walking trade.
      Or, is it? I see to recall that the revenues from the hill-walkers far exceeded that of the coach parties.

  6. Thanks Alan,
    Glum reading indeed. With the powers that be having the capability of eventually overturning even the strongest objections. Why bother to get hearts and minds on board.
    No, its a great excuse for them to go to London or elsewhere for a nice shopping break all expenses paid.
    Eventually this policy will come back to haunt them when the cost of energy makes all these turbines complete white elephants. I just hope the developers have sunk billions in to it and they loose the lot. However they probably have a clause that at some monitory breakpoint they sell back to the people and then head off into the sun.

    1. Well., Enron went spectacularly bust (because of fraud, I seem to remember?) but I wonder if any government will let the energy businesses go under. They have become as powerful as the banks and just as important to the economy.

      So - if they *do* lose piles of money, it will be us bailing them out. But with prices as they are and competition so woeful, can you really see these beggars going bust?
      They have us all by the nuts, and they aren't tickling any more; they are starting to tighten their grip.

  7. Scottish Renewables were on the BBC Radio Scotland this morning, some after 7, extolling the virtues of the policies and jobs it creates in Scotland. It appears that their argument up here is £u(k the landscape we're creating new jobs in the current financial climate. You should be able to pick it up on the iplayer should you wish to listen....

    1. Thanks, Tookie.
      That's always been their stance, but they had always dressed it up with their impeccable "Green" credentials.
      Now it's just a naked land-grab for money.

    2. Yes, they were talking about how green it was as well, I think this is the link....

    3. Thanks Tookie - I have justilistened to it - the item comes on at about 7:04am, if anyone wants to listen to it.

      I wonder where Salmond's "over 100,000" jobs went then?

    4. Shan't listen to it.
      It would just make me want to punch one of them until they died.

      Oohh is that a bit strong?
      To wish a horrid death on the unethical £uckers!

  8. Well, this link may not work straightaway (you probably need to register, for free):

    It's a piece in the Glasgow Herald asking some good questions on the eve of that conference you linked to.

    There was a rather hilarious piece (involuntarily) in the same rag a few months ago by Ian MacWhirter, an ex-BBC man, now a regular columnist on the Herald. He was writing from his holiday home in the Pyrenees, moaning about the cold, that even his MacBook wasn't working. And he then he went on with a tirade against those who want to keep the Highlands as they are, not like the Pyrenees, he says, where there's lots going on. Now, I've never been in the Pyrenees but I don't think they're putting wind plants on the highest tops like we do here.

    Moreover, he seemed not to see the hypocrisy of someone writing from a holiday home abroad and supporting the trashing of the Highlands (he of course referred explicitly to wind turbines and he berated those like us who are always objecting to a few more of them).

    So, it's good to see leader in the same paper taking a different line.

    MacWhirter, by the by, is the guy who dominates the pictures on the conference link you gave. He must have been the compere on a previous occasion. So it's clear why he's praising the turbines. He was paid to entertain at the last Scottish Renewables fair.

    And in this link here you can see why the Highlands are an easy target:

    When you build turbines in a town like they did in Dunfermline you get office workers getting sick because of shadow flicker. I see this beauty every day on my way to work and it really dominates the houses around. It's a lot easier to chuck them on a hill where no-one but old geezers like us see them.

    What can one say. As for imagining horrible deaths, don't get me started on that. Tying them all up to the turning blades would be a good start, methinks...

    1. Two excellent articles, Andy.
      The first, really rams home that politicians are following the wind companies bidding, blindly following an engineering nonsense.
      The second shows that wind turbine flicker and noise can seriously affect your health.
      Well worth reading.

  9. Has anyone seen the film "Conspiracy" starring Kenneth Brannagh? If not, here is a link

    It dramatises a meeting of Nazi and SS hierarchy discussing the design and implementation of the Final Solution. Now I'm not trying to equate that in any way to the wind power issue - that would be wholly and totally inappropriate - but the statement you quote seems couched in just the same style of language used in the film. Chilling indeed.

    1. That comment stopped me in my tracks a bit, Jules, but I do understand what you mean.
      It's the dispassionate, cold analysis, with no regard to people, culture, heritage. Just focussed on the one solution.


    2. I believe that the clip that you were thinking of can be found HERE
      Chilling, indeed.

    3. Yes, that's the film.

      Just to reiterate, I was in no way trying to equate the events (that would be far, far too crass and disrespectful), just to highlight the similarity in the way the arguments were constructed - as you said (better that I did) dispassionate, cold, and with no regard for the people involved.

      Sorry (to everyone) if any offence was caused.

  10. Short-term government, short-term gain, short-term planning, short-term effing everything. If those responsible would stop to think about long-term (ie past the next election) we might get some sensible decisions.

    They won't and therefore don't, and we (the people) and our land have the pleasure of getting stuffed at their leisure.

    1. Quite.
      The thing is, the government would say they *are* thinking long-term by building wind power stations...

      The reality of course is that it is a short-term, knee-jerk reaction to the longer term planning failures of the past governments.

      Had past Governments grasped the energy nettle more firmly we would now have a modern nuclear fleet providing one heck of a lot more energy, with less reliance on coal, so there would be far less emission problems.

  11. Dunnet Head, as I'm sure you all know, is the most northerly point on the mainland. It's a mainly wild area full of nesting birds, popular with tourists. Now a local landowner wants to put a 86m turbine with access tracks etc. just off the road leading up to the Head. Site looks big enough to add more. One of the great attractions of that road is that you gradually leave the houses behind and the last part to the top is wild with amazing views. Ah well.

    1. This is really upsetting, Brenda.
      I got to Dunnet Head after walking over 1600 miles. It was a fabulous spot.
      Land's End & John O'Groats have been ruined. Cape Wrath and Dunnet Head were wonderful places of serenity. To stuff a giant turbine here would be sacrilegious!

  12. Another bit of "relatively undeveloped landmass" bites the dust:

    103 turbines approved by Fergus Ewing (Minister for Tourism). There'll be dancing in the streets of Lerwick all night long.

    As for Dunnet Head, Brenda, it's such a special place, first walked there in 1984, wild day in March. Magical. Ah well, as you say.

    1. "The firm said it had listened to the community and made changes to address concerns."
      So - 103 turbines is "listening to the community", is it?

      I wonder if Fergus Ewing will ever dare show his face in Lerwick again?


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