It’s probably a fair assumption to say that the majority of those in favour of the Viking Energy windfarm are keen for it to go ahead for one reason only: they have been told by VE that it will bring many millions of pounds into the Shetland economy.
That’s all fine and well and I would normally strongly support any project that can boost the economy of our peerie group of islands.
However, I really have my doubts about this project. These industrial windfarms are only proposed because of, and are totally dependent on, the huge artificially high subsidies paid out at the present time. Windfarm companies currently get paid unsustainable prices to produce each unit of electricity, far in excess of units of electricity produced by conventional means.
You would think that the producer receiving the extra profit from this massive subsidy would pass it on to us, their customer, in the form of smaller electric bills. But, in reality, the reverse is true and we will all end up paying more for our power. Just last week Scottish and Southern Energy put up their charges to the householder, not by 1 or 2 per cent, but a single jump of 9 per cent. More rises will follow.
I, personally, do not believe the present level of subsidy will continue. Sooner or later those in charge of handing these subsidies out will realise that they cannot continue throwing money away and the level of subsidy will fall and fall and the projected profits fall along with it.
Supporters will point out that the power produced is green energy and not from dirty oil fired power stations. In theory they are right but in actual practice, in the real world, windfarms do not save anywhere near the theoretical amounts of carbon dioxide that they claim to. Despite repeated requests to Viking Energy and SSE to quantify the real savings from local power stations they have yet to reveal the figures. The simple fact is that these massive savings of carbon dioxide are not realised. They only exist on paper in projected figures. People read these figures and believe it will save the planet. Sadly it won’t. Renewable energy is undoubtedly a great idea and certainly a lot more research should be done into it and workable solutions found which really can save carbon dioxide. But the technology used today means that industrial windfarms do not currently provide the answer.
I am, though, a great supporter of green energy, where it can be used sustainably, and am probably one of the few people in Shetland to have my electricity needs met solely by wind, solar and water power for six months. Most of this came from wind power. The problem is though that it is intermittent and at best only works for half the time. I learned to live with this and ration my power needs accordingly but in today’s society where we are almost entirely dependent on an instant and consistent supply of electricity this is no use.
I believe that instead of millions pouring in to the coffers of the Charitable Trust over the next 25 years we could so easily find that the SCT is struggling to pay back the debt on the several hundreds of millions of pounds it has to borrow to fund this project and the £60 million initially laid down will disappear. I hope our councillors will reject the application when it comes before them.