As we’ve found over the years, controversy is never very far away in this industry. Despite the great many economic and environmental benefits wind energy offers, the scale and nature of both land and offshore developments are frequently the subject of protest. Our industry has done much to improve cooperation with communities, and takes care to site potential projects so as to minimise impact.
This year, French President Nikolas Sarkozy announced a project that would see a large wind farm installed 10 miles from the D-day landing sites on France’s northern coast. The proposal has been met with no small amount of uproar from many quarters – from conservationists and historians to, understandably, veterans of the landings.
This is of course at the extreme end of the spectrum – there are few sites in the world that would cause such outrage. For example, a more recent proposal for another offshore wind farm – this time in Scottish waters – has incurred the wrath of just one man; US tycoon Donald Trump.
The billionaire developer began work on his multi-million golf course development project just a year ago. The project, on the Menie estate near Aberdeen bay, will feature not only a golf course, but a hotel complex and homes. Mr Trump, in a letter to First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted that he is “fighting for the benefit of Scotland” and not “merely for the benefit of Trump International Golf Links”. Mr Trump does indeed have links to Scotland beyond his business interests; his mother having been born in Stornoway.
The question is whether, as someone who believes in doing the right thing for a country, the blocking of an industry in which Scotland is endeavouring to thrive, and one that is expected to bring scientists, researchers, engineers, and supply chain companies to the area, brings greater benefit than that of a golf course. It will be very interesting to watch these two high profile cases unfold.