Donald Trump is building “the world’s greatest golf course” along the Scotland coast. But according to the Associated Press, “the feel-good era between New York property tycoon Donald Trump and Scotland’s political leaders seems to have come to a dramatic end” thanks to a potential wind farm that could be built right off the coast of The Donald’s luxury resort.
The public spat brings to light one of wind’s most obvious weaknesses.
The Associated Press explains:
Trump has launched a blistering attack on Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond over plans to build a “horrendous” wind farm off the coast of his luxury Scottish golf resort. In an open letter, Trump accuses Salmond of being “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coast line and therefore Scotland itself.” The bitter words are a far cry from the love-in the two men enjoyed four years ago when Salmond backed Trump’s 750 million pound (US$1.2 billion) golf development 12 miles (16km) north of Aberdeen despite protests from environmentalists and locals about damage to rare sand dunes.
Salmond backed Trump’s golf course believing it would create hundreds of tourism jobs in the area. So why hit an intentional bogie now? Jobs are hard to come by these days, especially in Scotland, so wouldn’t it seem logical to protect what appears to be a sure thing? Apparently not; seems as though Salmond is more aligned with his country’s alternative energy ambitions.
“Salmond’s support for the wind farm is consistent with the Scottish government’s plan to position itself as a leader in the provision and technology of renewable energy. The wind farm’s turbines will be visible from the beach and the golf course,” according to the Associated Press.
Naturally, Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, which represents the wind farm industry, is none too happy with The Donald.
“Who is Donald Trump to tell Scotland what is good for our economy or environment?” Stuart said in a statement. “He completely overblows the impact of the proposed wind farm and to be honest there are so many mistakes in this ‘trumped up’ nonsense that it’s difficult to know where to begin.”
Other than providing an excuse to make a good headline, I think these blustery barbs bring to light one of wind energy’s most glaring weaknesses: Its jarring visual impact on the environment. Any way you slice it, wind farms simply aren’t pretty.
Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, doesn’t he have a right to protect his investment? What if a wind farm was built near your school, church, synagogue or favorite golf course? Would you protest?
As unsightly as wind farms may be, it’s probably not enough to stop their momentum. Halting wind progress means killing the production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy. The U.S. Congress actually failed to include an extension with tax legislation passed earlier this month, but it’s probably just a minor hiccup.
The wind industry, which says development will grind to a halt without the PTC, is continuing to push for an extension, and is doing so with what appears to honest-to-goodness bipartisan support,” EarthTechling explains. “In fact, most of the noise for this green-energy subsidy seems to be coming from wind-state Republicans, who could end up playing a sort of savior role.”
Something tells me The Donald won’t be throwing his support behind his fellow Republicans on this one.