Turbophobic Tory MEP Favours Fracking

Renewables scourge Struan Stevenson backs a new ‘dash for gas’

Struan Stevenson, Tory MEP for Scotland, is also president of the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Intergroup in the European Parliament. On the MEP’s website  it says Struan is a ‘firm believer in renewable energy’.

However, Stevenson is resolutely opposed to windfarms, supported The Donald’s recent attack on the Scottish government’s energy policies and most recently came out against marine renewables  as well with a daft claim that they would damage seagrass  ‘blue carbon’ sinks.

Now in an article in today’s Scotland on Sunday   Stevenson is waving the flag for fracking. This must surely destroy the last shred of credibility he has as an alleged  supporter of renewables. Gas is not renewable, it is not low carbon and it is not clean.

In the article Stevenson repeats the usual garbage, claiming   that wind turbines stand idle 75% of the time, that the cause of rising gas prices is the need to provide back-up for wind and that the primary cause of fuel poverty in Scotland is renewables subsidies. Meanwhile he calms fears about fracking with asinine comments like:

‘Shell say . .  that as long as well shafts are properly sealed with concrete there is negligible risk . . . ‘ –   conveniently overlooking the biggest environmental contamination incident in recent years, Deepwater Horizon, which was triggered by a faulty cement job.

What exactly is this guy  doing on a Climate Change group?  What a farce.

The End Of Oil

by turbinetastic

I’m tired.

It’s been busy at work lately, and busy at home, and that’s part of the reason why.

 But really I’m tired of seeing the same conversation played out over and over again.

It seems so clear to me that the status quo is unsustainable. Fossil fuels take millions of years to be created, and we’re using them up at a terrifying rate. Burning them and turning those long-dead sea creatures and forests into carbon dioxide, changing the composition of the atmosphere. One day, they will run out.

Not they might. They will.

You might be right when you argue that we have decades yet, perhaps a century, of using fossil fuels at the current rate. But what about the Global Middle Eastern Crisis of 2025? You know, where all the oil in the Middle East was stockpiled in various fundamentalist states that banned export to non-Muslim countries? When petrol reached £4 and £5 and then £10 a litre?

Or maybe it was in 2018, when a critical set of valves heavily used in offshore oil platforms turned out to be faulty. There were three explosions in various locations of the same scale as the BP Gulf Of Mexico disaster before the fault was finally traced; maintenance to fix the fault shut down another twelve.

Or perhaps the third world war broke out in 2035. Both sides enforced shipping blockades at key points to cripple the other side’s oil supply. Pipelines in the desert were targetted by missile fire; oil rigs bombed.

Or perhaps the tide turned in 2021 when there was a series of enormous climatological upheavals which brought drought to some parts of the world and floods to others, killing millions. The same year, the Gulf Stream which gives Britain its moderate climate suddenly shifted south to arrive in Portugal instead of Ireland, responding to tonnes of excess Arctic meltwater, and forced us to endure the hot summers and frozen winters they get in New York. Perhaps after that climate change stopped being something to debate and started being something we should work to prevent.

It may be that none of those things happen. It may be that the oil simply, and quietly, starts to run low. Before long only three nations have any claim to oil at all. Perhaps they’re benevolant and fair nations who don’t restrict the fair trade of their oil. Perhaps it gets rationed so that each nation gets a quota.

Eventually, one way or the other, the whole economy that we’ve built on relatively cheap, readily available fossil fuels will falter. It’s not an if. It’s a when, and a how, but not an if.

In your world, what happens next?

Do we leave our children or our children’s children to squabble over the remains of our technology? Do we trust to luck and good faith that technology will find a way forward, even if starved of the funding and the environment it needs to thrive? Do we risk that the scientists who say the data says the climate is changing are all corrupt or mistaken?

Or do we use what we can to build redundancy into our systems so that there’s an alternative when things get hard? Do we strive for flexibility, and to use resources that can’t be denied us by war or economy? Do we wait, with bated breath, for fate to remove what we’ve been able to exploit for so long, or do we plan for its demise to minimise its impact on our culture?

Every time you say “not in my back yard”, you’re arguing that we should sacrifice the future for the present. Every time you tell me that wind farms are useless or ugly, you’re not only mistaken, you are contributing to a climate where we have no alternative to fossil fuels and other fuel-based power.

Wind farms are not the answer. But they provide us with power from the wind when the wind blows. They are flexible and responsive. They enable and encourage us to develop a grid infrastructure that can respond to variations in supply as well as demand. They teach us to balance the demands of the ecology with our thirst for energy. And out there, on the hillsides, they are an unmistakable sign that someone, somewhere gives a damn about tomorrow.

And I’m tired of having the same argument. Don’t tell me I have to defend wind farms. You defend your strange belief that, contrary to all evidence, tomorrow will be just like today only better. It won’t. We have to create tomorrow.

‘Turbinetastic’ is a wind industry professional who has kindly agreed to syndicate their posts to this blog. This post was originally published on turbinetastic’s  own blog on 21/03/2012.


Turbinetastic’s Blog

A storm in a teacup

 by turbinetastic

I’m talking about this Herald article.

SSE’s renewables arm have applied for an offshore wind turbine testing facility near Hunterston power station. Planning was applied for as usual and was granted.

According to the article, though, the villagers are worried that although planning is granted for five years it was simply a sneaky corporate scheme to get a wind farm approved through the back door. Which is simply paranoia: SSE renewables are an enormous developer of onshore and offshore wind energy, with SSE recently announcing that they have more wind generation capability than the Hydro power which gave them one of their operating names of Scottish Hydro Electric. If they’re going to build a wind farm that’s what they’ll apply for in planning. They’re far too big a company and far too reliant on their own good name to be able to risk that in underhanded tactics. Also, if they wanted an onshore wind farm, why on Earth would they claim they wanted an offshore testing facility on land? It seems a bit paranoid to suggest this duplicity. Certainly there can be no evidence for it as the facility hasn’t been built yet: I’m sure if the turbines are erected and then duly either removed or planning permission re-applied for in five years time, SSE will get a heartfelt apology from the villagers for their accusation.

Quoted in the article:

But Mr Telford said: “The inhabitants of the village of Fairlie will have our homes and our home environment blighted, our population made ill by noise and coal dust, our local climate altered, our property devalued.

 “We are being made unwilling guinea pigs as a part of this extremely dangerous experiment.”

Coal dust? From a wind turbine? (OK, fair enough, three wind turbines.) “Our local climate altered”? I assume the gentleman doesn’t mean that it’ll be slightly less windy as some of the energy will be producing electricity so we can all watch Corrie. Property devaluation… well, yes. I’d maybe accept that as an issue if we weren’t talking about land a bare 3 miles from a large (and incidentally incredibly ugly) nuclear power station. If you’re interested, the photomontage showing what the turbines will look like from Fairlie is available online. It’ll look like:


Photomontage of the proposed facility as seen from Fairlie.


There do remain people who fervently believe, despite no scientific evidence, that wind turbine noise can make people ill. The interaction between health and belief and the environment and the mind is a complex one, and not one I’m going to go into here. But really, the rest of his argument is a bit of a storm in a teacup. Not only that but since planning has been granted, isn’t it all a bit late as well?

The most ludicrous part, to my mind, is the opening sentence, though: “Residents on the Firth of Clyde claim their human rights are under threat from the giant structures – thought to be the second-highest of their kind in the world.”

Their human rights? To a sea view?

That’s easily the most middle class argument I’ve ever heard. The article quotes the clause in question: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right…” However it is not clear to me where exactly the public authority is interfering. No homes are being knocked down, no forced evictions; the land in question is currently sort of industrial wasteland so there’s little could be done to make it worse. No, I can’t see a single part of this clause which is actually relevant to the proposed development. It reads like that middle and upper class assumption that owning property gives you inherent rights to all developments within eyesight of said land. And where have we heard that one before?

No wonder the court of human rights gets such a bad press.

‘Turbinetastic’ is a wind industry professional who has kindly agreed to syndicate their posts to this blog. This post was originally published on turbinetastic’s  own blog on 29/02/2012.


Turbinetastic’s Blog

Wind Warriors Will Take Anyone’s Money

Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS) to take Trump funding

The news is out that Donald Trump is to financially arm  the CATS  turbine troops to fight his Scottish windfarm war.  The amount of the funding is not yet known, but this may be revealed when his executive vice-president and legal counsel, George Sorial,  attends  an anti-wind farm meeting held by CATS in St Andrews next Thursday.  Apparently the bouffant buffoon’s  staff, based at Trump Towers in New York,  are to work on a daily basis with Communities Against Turbines Scotland (Cats).

Trump is a proven bully who is destroying a pristine and fragile sand dune environment to create a playground for rich Americans. He has attempted to  evict Scots from their homes, describing them contemptuously as living in a ‘slum’ or a ‘pigsty’.  If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the trailer below for ‘You’ve Been Trumped’

Legitimate protest groups do themselves and their public image no favours when they ally themselves with bullies like Trump.




The Donald Trump wind turbine fiasco could be defining for Scotland – Guardian article


MCoS Will Also Object To Coire Glas Hydro Scheme

Another group ‘not against renewable energy‘ set to object

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland are another conservation-oriented  group who have  indicated that they will object to the Coire Glas pumped storage hydro development,  even though they recognise its merits.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland [MCofS] would like to point out that we support the development of renewable energy schemes, particularly HEP, especially where these can be developed in what we consider to be appropriate locations ie those that have no impact on areas of wild land and areas of landscape value and significance. We recognise the importance of these schemes in addressing climate change, security of energy supply and the reduction of carbon emissions.

We recognise that this HEP proposal represents imaginative engineering construction and would gain maximum energy generating benefit from the site, unlike run of the river schemes, where the full potential may not be realised. There is also local availability of transmission infrastructure. However, we have several major concerns about this particular development which I indicate in the sections below. We very much appreciate the opportunity to comment at this early stage but would point out that we envisage that  if this Preliminary Scoping becomes an Application that we should make a strong objection  and that we anticipate that there would be considerable robust opposition to the scheme.

So – yes, it’s great from an engineering and efficiency viewpoint, we believe in climate change and we want to save the planet . . .  but not in our back yard, which  is anywhere where there are ‘areas of wild land and areas of landscape value and significance’ –  or most of Scotland, in effect.

I wonder what would have happened if lobby groups like MCoS were around during the great ‘Power From The Glens’ hydro bulding phase in the 1950s and the 1960s. I imagine they would  have objected to every dam and every power transmission line, in which case the majority of the people who actually live and work in the area would still be running their diesel generators or living in the gloom of their oil lamps.

Of course there were objection at the time to what the Hydro Board was doing, but fortunately for the Highlands and for Scotland these developments did go through and by the 1960s, the face of the Highlands had changed forever. New dams headed new, or larger, lochs. Rivers had been diverted through aqueducts and underground tunnels, and power stations settled on loch-sides. Electricity lines on steel pylons and wooden poles distributed electricity to remote settlements and individual crofts, bringing the power from the glens into people’s homes. Life would never be the same again.

Today, what was once feared as a threat to tourism, now actually attracts visitors. The dam and fish ladder at Pitlochry, a town which once closed its doors to North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board officials, is now a major tourist attraction, visited each year by over 500,000 people from all over the world.

Bodies like MCoS  have a duty to their members  to do whatever is in their power to ensure that this scheme makes the smallest impact possible on the natural environment and the indigineous wildlife. In doing so they will, I am sure,  be speaking for everyone except the accountants. However, blanket opposition in the interests of a very small section of the population is a surely a more questionable standpoint, especially in light of the Council’s expressed view that :

The environment of Scotland, although we may sometimes wish it, cannot be fixed forever.” 
(MCoS website, ‘Planning and Consultation Responses’)


MCoS response to Scoping Opinion for Coire Glas

Coire Glas information (SSE site)