[Image is of “Small”, 155 metre high turbines being installed in Shetland]
First of all, thanks to everyone who turned up to the HOFWIG public meeting at Midmar Hall on Wednesday 14th.
The meeting, held in advance of the RES exhibitions scheduled for the 20th and 21st June, had two main purposes.
Firstly to make sure that the true (non-propagandised) facts about the development were out in the public domain, and secondly to better inform individuals who would be attending the RES exhibitions, so that they would be better prepared to express their concerns to members of the RES team.
The hall was full and there was a really positive, optimistic atmosphere. Presentations by members of the HOFWIG group drew a few gasps from members of the audience who hadn’t to date quite realised the magnitude of the proposed development or the impact that it will have on the entire region.
1. Short Introduction (2/3 minutes)
2. Know the Issues presentation (15 minutes)
3. Short comparison of RES and Community Council questionnaires (2/3 minutes)
4. How can people help? (5 minutes)
5. Q&A – Facilitate Q&A directed to appropriate member of HOFWIG
Topics covered in the presentations and Q&A session included noise, wildlife, plastic pollution, economics, visual impact, hydrology, ‘borrow pits’ [quarries], the Battle of Corrichie, the battery storage development, effects on roads etc. etc.
It became increasingly obvious to everyone attending the meeting that there are a lot more potential issues with this proposed wind factory than initially meet the eye, or that are being openly discussed by RES.
For many I believe this meeting was a real eye opener, very unlike the presentations by RES which obviously aim to downplay what are clearly significant and common problems.
The most concerning take-away for me was however the economic one. The landowner will be paid rent for the land, but have essentially no responsibility for any damages done, e.g. to water supplies and general amenity [happy days?]; and RES will almost certainly “FLIP” the wind farm once it is up and running to a Private Equity (PE) company, probably incorporated outside of the UK. RES will likely retain the operations and maintenance contract for the wind farm, but not be responsible for its impact.
This means that the landowner will be paid an ongoing rent (in the £millions) for possibly the next 40 years. RES will make a quick profit (in the 10s of £millions) by selling ownership and hence future guaranteed revenues to a PE company, and then walk away from any responsibility or risk. The PE company will probably register its revenues overseas in a tax haven, paying little if no tax to the UK, and although being the responsible party for damages will be essentially unaccountable due to its remote location.
We are repeatedly told that wind and solar are now the cheapest forms of electricity production. Unfortunately, the price of electricity to you and me is dictated by a market that is skewed by the addition of ‘environmental levies’ and such like. This allows the electricity providers to ramp up prices and make massive profits while justifying this to us as necessary to save the planet! In the case of the Hill of Fare [and other onshore wind-farm developments] these excess profits are typically syphoned out of the country to the British Virgin Islands meaning that we lose out twice, once by being overcharged and then in a double whammy, the UK doesn’t get any tax from the process.
This is a development based primarily on greed and financial interest; not on the environment or climate issues. It will make no material difference to global CO2 production and might even make things worse if an honest carbon footprint is ever calculated. [I would be interested to know how much of the development including the batteries is coming from China and being produce using coal powered electricity? Not to mention, transportation costs?]
This development is not good for the local area, not good for the region, not good for the Scottish or UK economy and not good for the climate … go figure!!!
Everyone wins; apart from the local community, UK energy bill payers and the UK tax system. I’m sure there will be a few ‘benefits in kind’ going on in the background and plenty of palm greasing, but this is no way to run a business, a country, an energy industry or an economy; at least not on behalf of and in the best interests of the people.
You can read elsewhere on this site, and in the HOFWIG newsletter, examples of the poor management and planning that is being foisted upon us.
If you want to support HOFWIG, get involved or just be kept informed, scan the QR Code and well keep you in the loop.