For anyone who has concerns about our environment and about humanity’s future in a rapidly heating world, the proposed construction of massive offshore windfarms in Scotland’s Firths of Forth and Tay poses a dilemma of some magnitude. On one hand, the four projects – Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo – offer the prospect of generating enough electricity to power 1.4m homes without burning fossil fuel or producing carbon emissions. At the same time, between £314m and £1.2bn could be generated for the Scottish economy. Such prospects – claimed by the Scottish government and local industry – are powerful inducements to proceed with the farms’ construction. But some environmentalists point to the cost. Every year, the windfarms’ 335 giant turbines could kill thousands of Scotland’s seabirds – puffins, gannets and kittiwakes – when they stray into the giant blades that have been erected in their feeding areas. Hence the RSPB’s dismay at last week’s decision by Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, to reverse previous legal bans on the projects. As we report, environmentalists are now locked in opposing camps. One side claims the windfarms will help make Scotland the green energy leader of Europe. Others point out that the country’s nesting seabirds make a crucial contribution to Scotland’s highly lucrative tourism industry. Their slaughter could have serious financial consequences. More importantly, the nation has a duty of care to its wildlife. The Scottish government therefore faces a delicate balancing act. It has grounds to proceed with the windfarms but must do so in a manner that reflects its obligation to its native animals. It needs to launch renewed and re-energised talks with nature conservation groups such as the RSPB and declare it is committed to reshaping the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay windfarms so they that produce electricity in a way that is less destructive to wildlife and is more environmentally responsible.
Observer 20th May 2017 read more »
In the waters of the North Sea a few miles off Scotland’s east coast, a nine-year battle has been raging that threatens a fragile and unique environmental equilibrium. The struggle has made mortal enemies of two huge lobbies that share a passionate commitment to the environment. On one side are the developers of four vast windfarms comprising 335 turbines, which are planned for the waters of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. The windfarms are backed by the Scottish government, which regards renewable wind energy as key to the economic future. Pitched against them is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which claims the scale of the developments threatens the existence of some of Scotland’s best-loved species of seabird.
Observer 21st May 2017 read more »
Scottish Power is heading west to stake its claim in the US offshore wind rush after scooping up the right to build two mammoth wind farms off the east coast. The energy giant has quietly broken into the burgeoning market by successfully bidding for two major offshore wind projects, each the size of its entire UK portfolio. “We’ve probably got the biggest offshore development pipeline of any company in America,” said Keith Anderson, the company’s global boss. Scottish Power Renewables is already developing projects in Germany and France but its move beyond European borders fires the starting gun on UK offshore wind exports into the global market. “We as a country are seen to be the leaders in this type of technology. It’s great to be creating opportunities and developing skills in the UK, but also to see these being exported,” Mr Anderson said. Emma Pinchbeck of RenewableUK, the industry’s trade body, said the US is emerging as an important export destination for the UK wind industry.
Telegraph 20th May 2017 read more »