Speaking a week before the Scottish Government publishes its Second Report on Proposals and Policies (RPP2) for meeting Scotland’s emissions reduction targets, Scots Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson will today ratchet up the pressure on the SNP government to change course on its green energy policy, labeling the government’s ambition to produce the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 as ‘the supreme folly of our age’.
Addressing an anti-wind event entitled ‘EU emissions reductions: the answer isn’t blowing in the wind’ at the COBRA Rugby Club in Meifod, Wales this evening alongside Conservative Westminster MPs Glyn Davis and Chris Heaton-Harris, Struan will focus on the impact ever-increasing numbers of wind turbines are having in Scotland and will call for a more sensible green energy policy based on nuclear, shale gas and greater energy efficiency measures.
Remarking on the economic consequences of the rush for wind energy development, Struan will tell the assembled audience:
“Scotland is renowned for its unique and iconic landscapes which attract tourists from around the world. At a time of economic austerity, driving a stake into the heart of the tourist industry would seem to most sensible people to be the policy of the madhouse. But the obsessive race to cover Scotland with almost entirely useless concrete and steel wind turbines has begun to have an impact on our faltering tourist sector.
“Last year, tourist numbers fell by 14% and Mike Cantlay, CEO of VisitScotland said it was the weather to blame. Who ever comes to Scotland for the weather? Tourists flock to Scotland for our remarkable, world-beating scenery – for our rivers, lochs, hills and mountains – all of which are being systematically vandalised.
“There are planning applications pending, or wind factories and their associated pylons, overhead lines, service roads, borrow pits and quarries already built, on some of the most famous locations in Scotland. It is almost inconceivable that any government, let alone a Nationalist Government could set about destroying the Scottish landscape in such a determined way.”
In a week when it was revealed that every onshore wind farm job in Scotland is effectively subsidised by £154,000 a year as a result of extravagant public subsidies to wind energy companies, Struan will say:
“When Alex Salmond promised 130,000 green jobs from renewable energy, he was telling the truth. The problem is the majority of them are being created in Germany, Denmark and China who supply us with the kit.
“According to the Scottish Government's own figures, only 2,200 jobs have been created in Scotland in the renewables sector. But a recent study by Juan Carlos University in Madrid pointed out that 3 jobs are destroyed in the general economy for every 1 job created in the renewables sector. Rising electricity bills are strangling business and industry at a time of economic hardship. The Scottish economy will have paid a high price for these 2,200 ‘green’ jobs.”
The speech also comes almost two weeks after the Scottish Government announced that Scotland had missed its greenhouse gas reduction target for a second year running in 2011 and Struan will conclude by saying:
“What we could quickly do a lot more of is saving energy. Fuel efficiency could cut more than half the fuel we use. That is the best possible way to reduce bills and cut carbon emissions.
“The worst possible way is to throw all of your eggs into one basket by targeting the equivalent of 100% of electricity generation from renewables by 2020. That is the supreme folly of our age and may turn out to be Alex Salmond’s Darien.”