Comment posted Fife Council joins Aberdeenshire in asking for suspension of wind farm applications by Tim McIntyre.
My use of the phrase ‘lining the pockets of distant investors and absentee landowners’ was inteded to be a bit tongue-in-cheek – it is a common refrain of the anti-wind lobby. I do not have any objection in principle to large-scale wind power developments appropriately sited, as it is these which will make the biggest overall contribution to renewable energy targets.
My point was that the undoubtedly large and valuable wind resource of the area needs to be developed in a way which brings a reasonable level of economic benefit to the local inhabitants as well. Some of this will come from jobs created in building and servicing other people’s wind farms but local ownership and control of a proportion of the capacity would seem to be a vital element to encourage.
Subsidies always create inequalities and distortions but in a market-based electricity system are the only mechanism by which government policy can be implemented. There is a constant tension between the need to provide long-term stability in order to encourage investment, and the desire to constantly tweak the subsidies to reflect falling unit costs – witness what has happened in solar PV recently.
Tim McIntyre also commented
- Malcolm: subsidies for renewable energy do not exist in order to provide an income for community projects. They are there to encourage investment in renewable energy capacity.
If that means that communities with a strong wind or other natural energy resource are able to harness it to generate a modest income, that is a bonus – a side effect. It’s not ‘free’ income anyway – the community has to raise the capital to build the turbines – that is where the grant-funding/lottery agencies can have a role. Such grants are well-spent because they provide the means for a long-term income which can then be invested in other community projects or energy efficiency or conservation measures.
Karl: I would be interested to know how Tilley was funded in the first place, and so I’m sure would Malcolm.
- Malcolm – the combination of old power plants retiring and the legally-binding commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions means that renewable electricity generation is needed, and it so happens that onshore wind is currently the cheapest means of achieving this.
Your animations are fun and the graphics impressive, and your figures have a ‘wowee’ factor much in the way of an attention-grabbing headline. However, unless you provide equivalent costs for your proposed alternative energy policy, and also give us an idea of what the actual cost to consumers is, as a proportion of overall energy bills, £400million or whatever is completely meaningless.
Finally, given that the target you refer to is to generate as much renewable electrical energy annually as we consume overall as a nation, can you elaborate how you have translated this into a need to “…buy the bulk of our electricity from elsewhere.”?
- I’m afraid it would have to be ‘save a few thousand kilowatts and stop a turbine’ which unfortunately isn’t so snappy…
- It’s not all bad Malcolm – another windy day out on the farms!
I’ve begun to notice a correlation between windy periods and you going all quiet on your ‘look at the pathetic output from wind turbines’ animations
According to the Elexon NETA BM data, large-scale wind power accounted for 5% of UK electricity consumption over the past 24 hours. This only includes output from those wind farms with operational metering – estimated at around half of the total installed capacity, so it’s probably closer to 10%
- Malcolm – likewise I would imagine that most people driving home past a wind farm stop giving it a second thought after a few days or weeks.
Recent comments by Tim McIntyre
- Porkie from Salmond on fiscal policy as Darling bests him again in Reporting Scotland interviews
I didn’t see either interview, so have no comment on newsie’s “Blow for Salmond as Darling Triumphant Again” analysis
Is is not the case that being part of a currency union primarily requires the participants to agree on limits to public borrowing, and particularly borrowing to finance revenue expenditure?
Fiscal policy covers the whole gamut of government revenue & expenditure, and so an independent government can surely still have effectively full control over public spending priorities, taxation and borrowing to invest in public infrastructure. These are surely the powers that matter most, particularly in terms of stimulating economic growth and achieving a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth.
Personally I would be quite happy for an independent Scottish government to have some external discipline imposed over revenue borrowing – it would constrain them to funding public service expenditure increases through economic growth and/or tax. Whether you are part of of a currency union or not, the reality is that this discipline is imposed externally anyway, by the markets, so it’s not that big a deal. Plus we’re not exactly latched to a country with a record of tight fiscal control, as Mr Darling knows better than almost anyone else.
The comments which usually emerge about the supposed ‘dangers’ of currency union tend to refer to the absolute extremes of the Euro, i.e. Germany and Greece. This is a completely nonsensical comparison – Scotland & rUK have economies which are broadly similar, and Scotland, supposedly the ‘Greece’ in this analogy, has the natural resource clout to punch well above its weight in terms of economic potential. Where they differ significantly, e.g. in the import/export balance, a currency union would seem to offer at least as great an advantage to rUK as it does to Scotland.
I’m not any kind of expert on this, so I pose these points more as questions than assertions. Mr Salmond (and the Fiscal Commission) say a CU would be a good thing, for BOTH parties; Mr Darling (and Messrs Osborne, Balls & Alexander) say not. Who to believe? I haven’t seen any analysis of the benefits – specifically to rUK – of being in a CU with an independent Scotland, so would be interested to hear what Mr Strang (above) has to say on that.
- PHEW. Scotland can sleep easy. Alan Reid says we can keep the pound.
‘Of course an independent Scotland could use the pound if we wanted to’.
It’s a pretty uncontroversial and self-evidently truthful statement, so why the fuss?
Now if he’d said ‘Of course the UK will agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland’ that would be different…
- The food bank situation across the United Kingdom
Food banks are a symptom – not so much of a poor economy overall, but of one in which government policies have led to gross levels of social inequality, and no-one disputes that this has happened across the UK.
The SNP government has no constituency or mandate outwith Scotland, obviously, and I don’t recall the FM ever suggesting that Osborne’s policies were affecting Scotland any worse than the English regions. So that, and therefore this whole article, is a straw-man I’m afraid, newsroom.
Mr Salmond’s intention, I assume, is to point out that an independent Scottish government would be free to choose a different economic path, in which the wealth of the nation is shared more equitably.
- Andrew Argyle: Yes campaign impaled on currency
An interesting perspective from someone who sounds like he knows about these things – a UK union supporter too!
- Political whodunnit with reverberations
Sceptic 1 – “It has already been confirmed by the financial sector that any decision by the SNP not to pay their share of the UK debt would certainly be considered as a default…”
Can you provide a link to back this up please?
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