Playing the Trump Card: a Tale of Golf, Wind Turbines and Political Expediency

To say that US President elect Donald Trump is a controversial character would be an understatement. Not so widely known, he is also 50% Scottish, his mother Mary Anne Macleod being born in Stornaway on the Island of Lewis on May 10th 1912. This makes him, after Andy Murray, one of Scotland’s most famous sons alive today.

His Scottish ancestry and love of golf brought Trump to NE Scotland in 2006 where he bought the greater part of the Menie Estate just N of Aberdeen with plans to build a links golf course on the great sand dunes of this beautiful area.

The Menie Estate lies at the north end of a sandy beach and dune system that stretches for 23 kms north from Aberdeen. Part of the site was designated a site of special scientific interest and for this reason I privately opposed the plans but did not hold strong views. I was however surprised at the reaction of the local business and political communities who drooled over Mr Trump and his promise of billions and a local fantasy grew that golf may somehow replace oil as the cornerstone of Aberdeen’s economy. The Scottish Government appointed Mr Trump as GlobalScot Trade Ambassador in 2006. And the Robert Gordon University awarded him an honorary degree as Doctor of Business Administration in September 2010.

A sequence of unfortunate events were set in motion that has set the Scottish Government in conflict with who is about to become commander in chief of the most powerful military force the planet has ever known. That is the tale of wind turbines that I will get to shortly. But first I want to fill in more background on how we came to be US enemy number one 🙁

The Menie golf course proposals were controversial from the start with opinion split between those who believed it was good business and those who did not want to see this area of exceptional beauty despoiled. The first bump on the road for Trump was when his planning application was declined in a vote that was split down the middle. The planning application was handled by the Planning Committee of Aberdeenshire Council that was chaired by environmental activist Martin Ford. With the vote split 50:50 Dr Ford was left with the casting vote that rules dictate must be cast in favour of the status quo and the application was denied.

In time honoured democratic tradition, the Scottish Government stepped in and overturned the ruling which in light of subsequent events was probably a bad idea. Dr Ford was sacked from his position on the Planning Committee the following year. He resigned from the Liberal Democrats to join The Greens.

The second bump on the road that threatened to derail the project was in the form of local farmer and fisherman Michael Forbes. Forbes owned a piece of land by the Menie Estate that Trump wanted to buy and Mr Forbes declined an offer reported by Wikipedia to be £450,000 + £50,000 per annum for life. Forbes became a local hero and champion of those who opposed the scheme. This developed into a very ugly battle – if only the Scottish Government had not over ruled the local decision in the first place, none of this would have happened.

The golf course and club house was built and a wall was built around the Forbes property. It opened in 2012, and is rated as the fourth best golf course in Scotland. But the second course, the hotel and all the houses and jobs that were promised never materialised because of the dispute that would arise over the offshore wind farm. I guess Mr Trump discovered that NE Scotland is not the sort of place that is open for business.

And so to the third bump which is the reason for relating this story. For as long as any of us can remember, there has been a plan to build a wind farm offshore Aberdeen. The saga began in 2003 when Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) first announced proposals for an offshore wind farm. With Trump coming to town in 2006, his organisation was of course aware of these plans. Mr Trump alleges:

he had been “lured” into building the golf resort upon assurances by the former and current first ministers, Jack McConnel and Alex Salmond*, that the wind farm would not be built.

* Alex Salmond has since been replaced by Nicola Sturgeon.

Both McConnell and Salmond deny this. Regardless of where the truth lies Mr Trump feels betrayed and plans for the second course, the hotel, the houses and all those jobs have been put on ice. Meanwhile plans for the wind farm have progressed, starting with a €40 million grant from the EU offered in 2009 and the Scottish Government granted consent to proceed in March 2013, 10 years after the plan was conceived.

Needless to say Mr Trump was not pleased by the decision and has taken the Scottish Ministers to court on three occassions in an effort to overturn the decision in an action titled:

Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd & Anor v The Scottish Ministers (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 74

The Trump organisation lost in The Court of Session, they lost their appeal in The Court of Session and they lost in the Supreme Court leading Alex Salmond to brand Mr Trump three times a loser. Well he’s not a loser now and the dispute may have escalated by a few orders of magnitude.

Eight Reasons Why the Scottish Government Should Not Have Backed the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm

  1. The site offshore Aberdeen is one of the busiest shipping lanes in Europe and the development must inevitably create and increase safety risks
  2. Scotland is gagging on wind power and quite simply does not need this offshore facility
  3. The Scottish government pursuit of renewable energy has created risks to the stability of the Scottish grid
  4. The Scottish government pursuit of renewable energy has created an absurd and ironic dependency on electricity imports from England
  5. It will make no significant difference to the local or Scottish economies
  6. It will make no measurable difference to global CO2 emissions and Man made global warming
  7. Offshore wind remains one of the most expensive forms of electricity generation ever invented and higher electricity prices may actually harm the economy
  8. It will kill seabirds and could potentially interfere with already stressed marine mammals and fish stocks like migrating salmon.

This is a £300 million, 11 turbine, 92 MW white elephant where it is hard to document benefits. Those good at arithmetic will already have spotted that the giant Vestas V164 turbines are rated at 8.4MW. Confronted with these arguments, the question does need to be asked why consent was granted in the first place? The answer is of course dogmatic adherence to energy policy born out of Green Thinking. We can now add a ninth reason and that is The Scottish Ministers may now have severely antagonised and alienated the next president of the USA.

Playing the Trump Card

From here on I can see 4 outcomes that I have named 1) Got Lucky 2) Pragmatic 3) Expedient and 4) Suicide

Got Lucky: Is where President Elect Trump is so distracted by the affairs of State that he decides to forgive and forget his Scottish opponents 🙂

Pragmatic: Is where lead developer Vattenfall (100% owned by the Swedish State) decide that the risks of alienating the President of the USA are too large and they simply cancel the project now while it has barely got under way.

Expedient: Is where the Scottish Government reviews their decision in light of new circumstances (and they are new) and finds a way to cancel the project which I strongly argue should never have been consented in the first place. This might also encourage Mr Trump to complete his luxury resort. Perhaps golf can replace oil after all 😉

Suicide: Is where none of the preceding options occur and Mr Trump finds time to ensure that his opponents in the Scottish government are punished. Don’t be surprised to find a 100% tariff imposed on Scotch and to wake up one morning to find the turbines lying in the sea.

[Footnote: In wake of comments made about Muslims’ freedom to travel to the USA, The Robert Gordon University stripped Mr Trump of his honorary Doctorate in December 2015. Also in December 2015:

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Mr Trump’s recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland and the First Minister has decided his membership of the respected GlobalScot business network should be withdrawn with immediate effect.”

What a mess!]

Note that comments will be moderated in accordance with the fact that Mr Trump is President Elect of the United States of America.

This entry was posted in Energy, Political commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to Playing the Trump Card: a Tale of Golf, Wind Turbines and Political Expediency

  1. pyrrhus says:

    I am guessing that President Trump has bigger fish to fry. As someone who is part Scots, however, I really wonder at the furor caused by a project to invest a lot of money building a golf resort. Golf courses are by no means anti-environmental, while wind farms are definitely anti-environmental. When are the Scots going to get serious about their future?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Golf courses are by no means anti-environmental, while wind farms are definitely anti-environmental. When are the Scots going to get serious about their future?

      Yes. And I despair.

  2. Willem Post says:

    Euan,

    Thank you for that story.

    Trump offered Scotland a pearl necklace essentially for free, but it refused to wear it, because it rather pays subsidies to generated expensive energy it does not need, but satisfies some fantasy RE goals.

    I thought the Scots were levelheaded people.

    Scotland wants to secede from the UK with such a business mindset?

    After secession, many Scots may opt for emigration.

    Trump has bigger fish to fry, such as renegotiating slanted trade agreements, such as NAFTA, courtesy of Bill Clinton. Perot called NAFTA the giant job sucking sound. He was proven right.

    Such trade agreements transfer industries and steady, full-time, good-paying jobs with good benefits, etc., from the US to foreign countries, our so-called “trading partners”, who have been enjoying lucrative trade surpluses of $500 billion per year, already for decades, on which they pay very little US taxes, because of “transfer” pricing.

    With Clinton, the establishment candidate, all would be BAU, i.e., trading partners comfortable and liking Clinton.

    With Trump renegotiating trade agreements, all will not be BAU, i.e., trading partners anxious about their surpluses and disliking Trump.

    It will be an interesting 4 to 8 years.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Trump offered Scotland a pearl necklace essentially for free, but it refused to wear it, because it rather pays subsidies to generated expensive energy it does not need, but satisfies some fantasy RE goals.

      Yes. I’ve heard that what has been built at Menie is superb. Having ensured that the project went ahead, my feeling is that it was incumbent upon ministers to ensure that the business environment was right for it to succeed.

  3. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Euan,

    Thanks for an interesting and timely post. Trump has made it clear that he would like better relations with the UK leaders than Obama had. That should be easy and it would have great support here. There are a lot of Anglophiles among Republicans. I personally am grateful to the UK for a superb undergraduate engineering education.

    Obama broke precedent and campaigned vigorously for Clinton, somehow managing to lower the already low level of the campaign by associating Trump with the Ku Klux Klan. Wikileaks also made it clear that there was collusion between the Democratic Party, the news media, and federal agencies. Nevertheless, Trump destroyed both the Bush and Clinton dynasties.

    Obama himself is vulnerable because he legislated mainly by executive orders and new regulations.He made little attempt to actually pass legislation except for Obamacare. Obamacare was passed by simple majorities using some legislative maneuvering. It is quite possible that a determined Trump with good legal advice and Republicans in Congress can undo most of it.Trump has one Supreme Court appointment already and judges that are 78, 80, and 83 years old.

    This has been the most dramatic election I have seen, surpassing Kennedy vs Nixon and Bush vs Gore. The polls missed that the industrial heartland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin had switched. These states gave Trump a decisive win.

    Dave

    • These states gave Trump a decisive win.

      But only because of the electoral college system. The popular vote (i.e. the true democratic vote) put Clinton as the winner meaning the USA gets a President that it didn’t vote for. A model of democracy, for sure :/

      • Euan Mearns says:

        This happens all the time in close contests and is to be ignored. If the popular vote mattered then Trump would have spent a quarter of his time in California.

        • Thinkstoomuch says:

          In addition to Euan’s comment.

          Which is why it is a Republic.

          Founders were justifiably leery of mob rule.

          Though it also it also proves a decided lack of strategic thinking on the part of the Democrats. Understand the rules in order to win. Might as well give the checkered flag to the person who led the most laps not the one who finished the race first.

          Whether or not Trump lives up to his promises anywhere is to be seen.

          Though energy at least will be the easiest(I think). What happens when a president goes around take the easy course the next president has the easiest time changing it in a different direction. Again strategic thinking.

          T2M

          • A C Osborn says:

            Please note that those supporting Climate Change, strongly tend to support the EU (against Brexit) and strongly tend to support Hilary Clinton (against Trump even with all the scandal surrounding both her, the DNC and the Media).

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Please note that those supporting Climate Change are not to keen on democracy either 😉

          • Alex says:

            “Please note that those supporting Climate Change, strongly tend to support….”

            I think those supporting climate change tend to drive cars, heat their homes, take flights, and generally live.

        • JerryC says:

          If the popular vote mattered then Trump would have spent a quarter of his time in California.

          Quite! Both candidates would have campaigned differently had the overall popular vote been the criteria for victory. Interestingly, the conventional wisdom before Tuesday was that the Electoral College math favored Hillary, because no one thought the upper midwest states (PA, MI, WI) were in play.

          • Amadeus 48 says:

            And of course no one votes for the European Commission and the first-past-the-post voting system assures that the a majority of the popular vote is irrelevant to who holds the executive power in Britain (and Scotland).

        • Bob Siren says:

          It has happened twice in the last 120 years, and only 3 more times in history.

      • Garth Wood says:

        Very common in Western liberal democracies that are also multi-party (in other words, it’s the *dominant* model of democracy throughout much of the Western world). I don’t think Canada (for example) has had a political party that’s won a majority of the seats in federal Parliament in the last century that won more than 38% of the popular vote.

        You’ve got a multi-party system. Get used to seeing EC Presidential wins with less than 50% of the popular vote, and occasionally even with less of the popular vote than the competitor.

        • Wm Watt says:

          After the 1993 election I did a computation of the percentage breakdown for the candidates in each riding and showed a cutoff of 40% for almost all winning candidates regardless of party affiliation including the single (I think it was) successful independent. It wasn’t published, just a personal effort which I turned over to my local Reform Party riding association and a copy to the party chief strategist. I believe that was the source of the 40% rule in Canadian politics.

      • steakman says:

        Why is it that when the left side of things loses…its always the system is “wrong”….its not “democratic” ta yadda ta yadda.

        Yet seems to suit them just fine when they win…

        Don’t like the result.? Dont’ think it “democratic enough.?? I suggest you leave and move to a locale more to your liking….might I suggest a socialist utopia such as Venezuela, perhaps..??

        • Simon cove says:

          I don’t think it’s just the left that think that. it’s just that the left have just lost. The Tories were not overly loving it when Blair was in power.

          • Anna Mac says:

            Exactly. Kate over at smalldeadanimals.com used to say something like: The downfall of the right is failure to riot.

      • socabill says:

        The EC was put in place in our Constitution by the Founders expressly to keep the large population centers from ruling over our rural areas.

        That would leave NYC, Philly (and the entire North East,) Los Angeles, Chicago and other concentrations of Leftist free to govern as they see fit.

        Ever been subjugated to the whims of a majority?

        Like B. Franklin said “A republic, if you can keep it.”

        Straight-up democracy can be a terrible thing to live under.

      • Michael Kelley says:

        Since illegal aliens vote freely in California, and many conservatives don’t bother to vote there because their ballots don’t matter, we figure it’s a wash.

      • ristvan says:

        KC, reread Article 2 section 1 of the Constitution. There was and still remains a clear purpose for the Electoral College. Trump won, period. California can throw a hissy fit. Who cares?

  4. Very funny. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Hugh Sharman says:

    I have sat enthralled by the nightly, epic, soap opera called the US Election 2016 (CNN State of the Race), these last 6 months. However, the 60% turn-out of eligible voter was the real story surely? ie apathy!

    What a terrible choice the voters had!

    As regards commentary, 10 minutes spent with the British philosopher, Roger Scruton, at
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081tkmc will be well spent, I promise you!

    • Leo Smith says:

      Roger Scruton is one of our best philosophers.

      Look him up on ‘social justice’

    • Yes, I heard Sir Roger yesterday and would highly recommend listening.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Listened to it Hugh. Very interesting. Do we know if the comments made about Russian forces and depopulation of E Europe are true?

      Personally, I don’t believe the borders of NATO should have been changed post Soviet Union. Its bonkers to think we may go to war with Russia if they invade Latvia. It devalues the whole of NATO. I’d much rather have a smaller NATO with the USA in it than an expanded NATO we cannot defend.

      Finland has done just fine.

      • Syndroma says:

        I do not like to comment on military issues because it invariably leads to senseless debates about who has the longest missile, but here is my take.

        For Russia, conquering Eastern Europe is not a problem, governing it is. Not too long ago Russia attempted it and it ended in complete failure. No reason to believe that any new attempts will be different. No valuable resources, no valuable industries, large numbers on extremely unsupportive locals. No rational reasons to invade. Of course, if we assume that Putin is a megalomaniac then it’s possible to make a case for war.

        But one should consider that Putin had an authorization from the Parliament to invade Ukraine in 2014. And he had overwhelming support for it from the Russian population. But he didn’t invade. Maybe because he didn’t want to own the poisoned chalice of Ukrainian politics. Also we can recall that Russia de-facto conquered Georgia in 2008, but also withdrew.

        The characteristic trait of modern Russian policies is a pursuit of a long-term solutions, even if they are harmful short-term. There is such a solution for Crimea. A few years of a transition, a reasonable investment in infrastructure and local economy and Crimeans will blend in seamlessly into Russian society. They already did. The solution was obvious to everyone, and I commented on it at TOD in 2008.

        The Western media will continue to use Russian menace to advance its ideas because Russia is a convenient scarecrow. One just needs to remember that the real Russians are not obliged to do any of the crazy stuff attributed to them. And also remember that Putin is more pro-Western than 99% of Russians.

        • Dan_Kurt says:

          Let me add a point, Nikita Khrushchev when he was in power (1954) gave the Crimea to Ukraine. It had been Russian territory before that from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha.

          Dan Kurt

      • Hugh Sharman says:

        Euan, I do not have any hard and fast stats and I am not looking. What I can say from my personal and therefore anecdotal observation, is that hotel workers all over UK, even in all the remotest corners of the Kingdom and Ireland, (Shetland for example) are overwhelming staffed by young, bright and personable East Europeans who “don’t want to return to their own country”.

        As regards NATO, I have always been ashamed of the imbalance of effort and funding between the USA and a prosperous Europe. Did not want to say this, but Trump has a point!

        The justice of defending the poor Baltics against another Russian invasion is unquestionable in my historical view. The positions of rich and properous Finland and Sweden cannot be compared with the Baltics and you know it, of course! 😉

  6. mark4asp says:

    I’m desperately trying to figure out what Trump thinks about nuclear power, climate and energy. I can’t find much. I don’t think he will do much immediately in climate or energy. But the EPA looks like its days of SJW politics are over. A lot will depend on Steve Bannon, who is even more of a mystery then Trump. I couldn’t find much looking through google because there is so much noise in the signal : too many s***-stirring articles by Dems trying to assassinate his character based on hearsay. FT and Washington Post did profiles on him. 4 links below:

    * Directed the movie: Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power (2014)
    * Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/8a36044e-6545-11e6-a08a-c7ac04ef00aa
    * Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/it-seemed-like-trump-and-breitbart-couldnt-be-closer-then-stephen-bannon-joined-the-campaign/2016/08/17/352f7780-647f-11e6-96c0-37533479f3f5_story.html
    * Interview with (about a movie he made about Palin): https://thespeechatimeforchoosing.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/an-interview-with-the-undefeateds-steven-bannon/
    * The Smearing of Steve Bannon
    https://spectator.org/the-smearing-of-steve-bannon/

    • mark4asp says:

      Forgot : the links above are about Bannon, not Trump!

      Trump gave an interview after Fukushima in March 2011, but it tells us little about his views on nuclear power. Trump clearly considers cheap energy an economic essential. That leads us to believe he will support fossil. Trump: ‘We Do Need Nuclear Energy’ (Fox news interview, March 15, 2011)
      http://video.foxnews.com/v/4586873/?#sp=show-clips

      We will not see him build half a billion solar panels which was Hillary’s (scrub: it was green hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer’s) plan.

      • Leo Smith says:

        I think the Trump stands in a place where whatever is cheapest will be allowed. As a deep climate sceptic and with no love of renewable energy, I’d say he will naturally support coal and gas.

        I don’t think he has even thought about nuclear power. The USA doesn’t need nuclear yet. It’s got plenty of coal and gas left.

        USA is where the UK was with North Sea Gas. Why rock the boat and pick the political hot potato of nuclear? Just let the free market build gas.

        • mark4asp says:

          No.

          The Republicans spiked nuclear power back in 1974 when they created the NRC in response to coal lobbying. The NRC were made with a single-minded aim of allowing only the safest possible nuclear power. After the NRC were established, new applications for nuclear power plants vanished. Many of the applications already in the pipeline fell by the wayside. Compared to pre-NRC, plants which went ahead were completed overdue and twice over-budget.

          Dems and Republicans both spiked nuclear power. They prevented all technological development. That is why we have expensive reactors like the EPR at Hinkley C.

          Trump and Bannon claim they are not part of the corrupt Washington elite. We shall find out. If they deregulate nuclear power by reforming the NRC I’ll believe them. If they continue to blame Dems for everything whilst doing nothing to help, then I’ll know them for the fakes I suspect them to be.

          • Leo Smith says:

            Dunno why you prefixed that with ‘No’

            Since I pretty much agree with it all.

            Trump is not a republican really. He is a maverick. What the Republican Party did won’t necessarily constrain his actions.

            Anyway, once you ditch climate as a driver of energy policy, running with gas and coal makes sense, until and unless the price of nuclear falls below say coal.

            THAT is of course utterly and totally dependent on the political regulatory regime applied to it.

            Nuclear was for a time cost competitive with coal, and could be again.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Here is his energy policy:

      America will unleash an energy revolution that will transform us into a net energy exporter, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs, while protecting the country’s most valuable resources – our clean air, clean water, and natural habitats.Rather than continuing the current path to undermine and block America’s fossil fuel producers, the Trump Administration will encourage the production of these resources by opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters. We will streamline the permitting process for all energy projects, including the billions of dollars in projects held up by President Obama, and rescind the job-destroying executive actions under his Administration. We will end the war on coal, and rescind the coal mining lease moratorium, the excessive Interior Department stream rule, and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama Administration. We will eliminate the highly invasive “Waters of the US” rule, and scrap the $5 trillion dollar Obama-Clinton Climate Action Plan and the Clean Power Plan and prevent these unilateral plans from increasing monthly electric bills by double-digits without any measurable effect on Earth’s climate. Energy is the lifeblood of modern society. It is the industry that fuels all other industries. We will lift the restrictions on American energy, and allow this wealth to pour into our communities. The Trump Administration is firmly committed to conserving our wonderful natural resources and beautiful natural habitats. America’s environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas. We will refocus the EPA on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans. It will be a future of conservation, of prosperity, and of great success.

      MY bold. But who is going to argue against that?

      He has said he will cut funding to climate research and withdraw from Paris Accord. In terms of the range of policy issues he has laid out, I believe he will deliver on energy and climate first. It creates jobs and lowers energy bills.

    • mark4asp says:

      Just as I suspect. Nothing for nuclear power. It does not even exist in their minds, except as a bogeyman. https://www.greatagain.gov/policy/energy-independence.html

      • Thinkstoomuch says:

        I only did a quick scan but what makes you think that document treats Nuclear as a bogeyman?

        Where it says:

        “We will streamline the permitting process for all energy projects, including the billions of dollars in projects held up by President Obama, and rescind the job-destroying executive actions under his Administration.”

        That would seem to be heartening to my understanding after the NRC took 8 years to approve the Turkey Point plant.

        Not saying you are inaccurate just wondering at the statement.

        TIA,
        T2M

  7. Neil Upton says:

    The effect on Salmon migration could not come at a worse time. Salmon runs are depleted on the east coast any further reduction could have a major effect on tourism.
    The Scottish executive have presided over the extinction of wild salmon on the west coast with their support for toxic salmon farms.
    What’s green about their incompetence
    Neil

  8. gweberbv says:

    The Scots think they have problems …

    The guy who is now going to become the German president called Donald Trump a ‘hate preacher’ just a few days before the election.

  9. Lets cut to the chase here.

    Yes the wind farm should not have been given approval. But this has little to do with giving approval or otherwise to the golf course and its expanded facilities. The two are only linked because the golf course owner will not expand with the wind farm in place, and only for aesthetic reasons.

    However there is also precedent that the course would not be approved anyway. So take the wind farm out of the equation and you are still left without the increased facilities attached to the course.

    Clearly, as you stated it is the governments problems that caused this mess. Thw wind farm is a function of this issue.

  10. Alistair Buckoke says:

    Many thanks Euan for a timely review of a disreputable episode.

    As if we needed it, it only illustrates the serious shortfall in democracy there now is in Scotland.

    It also shows how Scotland’s best interests are not being clearly assessed or understood.

  11. steve says:

    Perhaps Vattenfall could re-cycle some of the 14 year old kit they have just taken down at home. They say they can’t replace the turbines with better ones and have cut the old bases off to sea bed level. The wind was high and made life hard for the scrappers, but not windy enough for replacements. The grants and subsidies are much better in the UK. They pay double and the wind rush is afoot with the Deccheads waving wads of cash..and just think about all those dismantling jobs in 15 years time. Those Chinese casting factories will be pleased to, especially now that the ‘naive’ Donald is planning to stop buying their low CO2 stuff. http://www.offshorewindindustry.com/news/first-ever-decommissioning-offshore-wind-0

  12. There might be a couple of political aspects missing from your otherwise excellent analysis.

    The first is contained in the “Scotland Gagging on Wind Power” post of Jan 12 2015. Wind power means that Scotland becomes an even larger exporter of electricity than when the electricity mix was coal, gas, nuclear and hydro. Being part of the much larger British energy market means that Scotland is mostly insured against the intermittent wind generation.

    The second is the Trump factor. Imagine if the new POTUS took revenge on Scotland for damaging his business interests. It would be a clear conflict of interest on Trump’s part and would damage relations with the British Government. London would have to react in strong terms, or the Scots Nats would have another reason for holding an out referendum.

    Now imagine if the Scottish Nationalist Government did the most sensible thing, cancelling the wind farm. It would be portrayed (especially by Scottish Labour) as ditching both the interests of Scotland and their Green credentials to both business and political pressure in the form of someone who is not exactly flavour of the month this side of the Atlantic. I think you are stuck with your wind turbines, and may get a few more proposed for good measure.

    • A C Osborn says:

      If Trump really takes offense over the Golf Course I don’t think that he would worry about “offending” the UK Government after all the things they have said about him in public.

    • Greg Kaan says:

      Wind power means that Scotland becomes an even larger exporter of electricity than when the electricity mix was coal, gas, nuclear and hydro

      This is of highly questionable value. With only thermal and hydro generation, Scotland was able to generate the amount of power required for its consumption. Exporting to England was only a secondary objective with generation increased beyond demand when it was profitable due to shortfalls in the south. With wind, the exports in total may have increased but was this done at times and at prices that were profitable?

      Being part of the much larger British energy market means that Scotland is mostly insured against the intermittent wind generation.

      The “wind is always blowing somewhere” assumption is just that. The entire UK weather system is highly correlated and England/Wales has not planned thermal capacity to supply the Scottish shortfall for a cold still night. Plus you assume the interconnectors are of sufficient capacity which is questionable

  13. Linda Holt says:

    Great post. The thing about the Menie wind farm is that it was supposed to be experimental, a test site for various turbines of different heights and designs. Of course that assumes an immanently vibrant offshore wind industry in Scotland – which has not materialised or is about to in the foreseeable future – and so it has suffered a de facto comfort-downgrade to a bog-standard, grant- and-subsdy-sucking wind farm. This was confirmed to me by an employee of Scottish Enterprise 18 months ago. The scandal is that Vattenfall would never got planning permisison for an offshore wind farm so close to shore if it wasn’t being presented as a test site which would boost Scotland’s off shore wind industry – the latter has turned out to be mythical, and that was clear to anyone with an ounce of knowledge years ago.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of how Trump has behaved at Menie, he’s right to object to the wind farm on his door step. And Trump has always understood that wind farms are a con.

  14. John F. Hultquist says:

    Being the nice guy that he is, The Donald will order that only American whiskey be served in the White House. And also, only sparkling wine — none of that champagne nonsense, because a few of the French have expressed their negative view of the next POTUS.

  15. Rod B says:

    This is my first post on this site although I have been following for a year or so as I find some of the threads extremely informative and helps to balance some of the information put out by the climate change lobby. Regarding this post there is an article in our local paper for Aberdeen about the proposal by Vattenfall, the Menie wind farm developer, to spend £2.6 m on a study to find out the environmental impact of offshore wind farms. One wonders if this is just a sop to justify this windfarm. Am I being cynical if I think that this experimental windfarm will have all of its wind turbines at the maximum power it can get away with and that the results of this environmental impact assessment will be favourable to offshore wind farms. I have yet to see a planning application up here in NE Scotland for onshore wind farms where an EIA ( Enviromental Impact Assessment ) does not show that the wind farm being proposed will not harm the environment and the noise levels for surrounding properties will not be a nuisance.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      I forgot to say in the post that one of the declared functions of this wind farm is to do research into offshore wind. Aberdeen is to become a centre for off shore wind research 🙂 Its rubbish of course. Just more Green Thinking and hope. And I agree that any studies will only discover good things.

  16. Anna Mac says:

    So, climate skeptics in Scotland? Clearly, left wing scriptural indoctrination at your universities is falling behind that of the E.U.!

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Not really. The University of Greenburgh accepts vast amounts of clean government money to produce research input to support government policies. The University of Aberdeen refuses to accept money tainted by fossil fuels, too stupid to realise that all money was created by fossil fuels. But the likes of Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh) and Robert Gordon University (Aberdeen) retain a pragmatic objectivity.

  17. David Harrison says:

    Excellent summation of a farcical position the Scottish Government has got itself in.

    Trump International Golf Links is a truly great golf course (played it several times) as is the hotel and restaurant at Menie house, he has certainly invested in those facilities. My guess is the second choice ‘Pragmatic’ as I cannot see the Swedish government following the SNP’s suicidal line of Trump bashing. Even now Nicola Sturgeon cannot help herself having praised Hillary Clinton on many occasions and making disparaging remarks about Donald Trump.

    Scotland should have been in an enviable position and could have had: A president of Scottish decent, holding a honorary degree from Robert Gordon’s University, designated GlobalScot trade ambassador owning two of the best Scottish links golf courses! How long before the Scottish Open is played at one of those courses?

    Talk about backing the wrong horse in a two horse race!

    On a final note Alex Salmond said he would move to the Antarctic if Trump became President, don’t hold your breath on that one coming true.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Dave, as a rule of thumb, politicians should never engage in foreign elections. Those who could not foresee that Trump had a chance of winning and temper their remarks accordingly cannot be that smart.

  18. Leo Smith says:

    Really I think that is as it should be. The USA does not need nuclear the way – say – Japan, the UK, china, parts of Scandinavia – need nuclear power.

    The middle and far east will lead the nuclear renaissance with I hope the UK and parts of Scandinavia and former Sovbloc nations in the van.

    The USA doesn’t need to lead that revolution. It can wait till the dust settles and buy the best technology in the game, once its known what that is.

    • Greg Kaan says:

      I think Australia is in the same situation yet I would like our country to make some investment in nuclear power for expertise and to begin facing the prospects of resource depletion (our oil fields are long played out.). If we had nuclear power plants (a few decades ago), I would have almost certainly gone down the power engineering route rather than the electronics/software side in the latter portion of my undergraduate degree.

  19. Anna Mac says:

    Nuclear was sidelined in the U.S. by the media and academia as a chapter in left wing scripture beginning in the 70s. Growing up during that period embeds it in one’s reality. It took me years of reading and critical thinking to get past some of the nonsense. For example, “The Noble Savage” and “Custer had it Coming” memes began being taught in high schools during that time frame.

  20. meliorismnow says:

    What time of use plans are offered in Scotland and how do they compare to baseline pricing? Are EVs popular in Scotland? Are trains/buses electrified? Surely demand will develop for curtailed electricity (raising it from free to low cost)?

  21. Andrew Jaremko says:

    all posters – I’m a little surprised that, given the focuses of this blog, you’re not including evaluations of the new types of nuclear reactors, including molten salt reactors, in your posts. How about one?

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