Scotland is sacrificing an estimated £1bn in potential annual income from renewable energy by allowing multi-national energy companies to cream off the profits from wind energy, Aberdeenshire farmer Maitland Mackie has claimed.
In an open letter to Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing, Dr Mackie urges the Scottish government to do more to keep the profits in Scotland by easing the planning regulations which, he says, act as a disincentive to farmers and landowners to invest in wind energy themselves.
He argues that by renting out sites for turbines to developers for “peanuts” rather than investing in wind energy themselves, farmers, landowners and local communities are missing out on huge potential profits.
“The policy being adopted by the government is starting to deliver billions of pounds of Scotland’s potential renewable energy revenues to foreign investors, miserably missing the revolutionary opportunity to democratise and decentralise the ownership and delivery of our renewable energy potential,” says Dr Mackie, a well-known enthusiast for wind energy who has three wind turbines on his family farm at Westertown, Rothienorman.
The turbines provide energy for the farm and Mackie’s ice cream factory, with surplus electricity being sold into the national grid.
Dr Mackie says Scotland has around 2.5GW of renewable energy in the pipeline, mostly in wind power, and he estimates 80% is owned by major international energy companies.
“This means four-fifths of the potential revenue, about a million pounds a year and equivalent to the total consumer subsidies supporting renewable energy, will go for ever to these foreign investors and is being milked off Scotland’s wind energy potential,” he says.
Politicians, Dr Mackie adds, need to rethink their renewable energy policy as a matter of urgency and deliver a policy which has democratisation and decentralisation at its heart.