Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The Answer My Friend Is Blowin' In The Wind

I like a wind farm. Some people don’t. To my mind they are a symbol of hope - hope that we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels and nuclear.

I grew up in East Lothian near a coal power station, open cast coal mine and nuclear power plant. On my most recent visit to the Garden of Scotland I couldn’t help noticing loads of wind farms have sprung up in the Lammermuir Hills and at Soutra on the A68 down to the Borders.

Yes, the skyline has changed but surely it’s changed for the better? To reject these clean sources of energy because it spoils someone’s view is madness. Of course they must be sited sensitively like any development but it frustrates me when people don’t see the big picture.
There was coverage recently of an appeal against the rejection of a wind farm on Cawdor Estate. The quote from the local NIMBYs? 

“We will continue fighting to stop these industrial windfarm developments which will be so damaging to the environment and tourist economy and which will produce no overall benefits to the Highlands.”

So, renewable energy damages the environment does it? And you think they’ll put people off visiting the middle of nowhere? And the Highlands won’t benefit from the clean energy and community funds generated?

If you want to know more about the proposal for yourself click here. It seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Latest info suggests Scotland is well on the way to hitting its renewables targets, which is great news. I was startled to learn this stuff about Denmark the other day. Population: 5 million. Number of people employed in wind farm sector: 29,000. Wow. Just think how Scotland’s economy could be revolutionised for the better.

But like the entire climate change debate (A friend asked the other day if it is still a debate? Surely everyone gets it by now? Sadly, no.) the wind farm debate looks like being dogged by misinformation and NIMBYism for some time to come.

George Monbiot voiced a conspiracy theory the other day which I didn’t think about too much until I noticed these comments: this letter in the Inverness Courier and the response here at the bottom of the Caley Merc article. Eerily similar and complete misinformation.

He’s right. If we feel strongly about this stuff it’s not good enough to believe it ourselves - we have to keep a check on what those against it are putting out there. I’m buckling up for a bumpy ride!

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