LibLink: Christine Jardine – Balance of Scottish power

Until the Summer, Christine Jardine was deep at the heart of Government as a special adviser on Scottish media based in Downing Street. She’s now returned to Scotland and full time Liberal Democrat politics.

This week, in the Scotsman, she argued that over reliance on land based wind farms can hurt the communities where they are based and predominantly benefits the landowners who pocket the subsidy and don’t pass it on to local people. She argued that more attention should be given to offshore and tidal projects, like the one Scottish Secretary Mike Moore was so enthusiastic about a few months back.

Christine said:

Perhaps it is time to pause and evaluate whether we are pursuing the correct green strategy or just rushing headlong towards a wind farm-covered Scotland to justify a political stance.

No-one doubts that Scotland is ideally placed to exploit the global realisation that we have to find an alternative to fossil fuels. We have the natural resources to cater for our own demands for renewable power and the potential to export both our expertise and equipment built in Scotland.

But critics of land-based wind turbines point out that it is our powerful offshore winds, strong tides and shallow seas which offer the greatest potential.

You can read the whole article here. Do you think that there’s the correct balance in our renewable energy focus and should we be listening to local communities who are concerned about the impact of wind farms on their livelihoods?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Say yes to tidal power. Tides ebb and flow twice daily, regular and reliable. Wind power is erratic, often shut down because there is too much or too little. As a yachtsman sailing the coast of Wales NW England and Scotland I know the power of the sea and I would like to see those responsible for power generation who live inland or in coastal areas were the tidal range is less significant take a trip in a small boat round the Scottish lochs and headlands and elsewhere in England and Wales. I am sure they would go home convinced that tidal power is the way forward

  • jenny barnes 23rd Aug '12 - 10:17am

    Offshore wind is considerably more expensive than onshore per delivered kWh. Tidal has it’s own issues – the severn barrage project has been a possibility for decades, with a likely output equivalent to a big coal fired power station (2GW) (8GW peak) but of course it’s in an area of high biological value…seabed tide turbines can probably be made to work, but it’s newish technology – string them across both ends of the Irish Sea, the channel, and the North Sea, maybe….
    and concentrated solar is even more expensive, but has a lot of potential – if the politics can be dealt with. There’s a lot of desert in North Africa which could be generating electricity. It’s the one renewable source which really could give us something equivalent to the amount of energy we’re using from fossil sources.

    Should we listen to local communities? Of course. Energy and climate change is a global issue, though, so maybe local communities shouldn’t be the only people that decide. After all, they are using electricity and gas and car fuel and embedded energy that ‘s been produced somewhere, and had an impact on someone else…

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