Plans for a 339-turbine wind farm off the Scottish coast that could power up to 40% of the homes in Scotland were filed this week over the objections of critics including American real estate billionaire Donald Trump.
The project, which would rank as the world's largest offshore wind farm, would cover an enormous area - about 114 square miles- and supply electricity to 800,000 households. It would put Scotland significantly closer to its goal of switching entirely to renewable energy sources by the end of this decade.
The $5.7 billion (4.5 billion euros) project would place 670-foot high wind turbines far off the coast - about 13 miles from Caithness in the Moray Firth. It would have a generating capacity of 1.5 gigawatts (GW), 50% larger than the giant 1 GW London Array, reports TheGuardian.
If the plans are approved, Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd. (MORL) would begin construction in 2015, with completion targeted for 2018. MORL is a joint venture between Spanish oil and gas company Repsol Nuevas Energias, and Portugal's EDP Renewables, which China's state-owned Three Gorges Corporation recentlybought a stake in.
As of now, this wind farm will be followed by a further 4.5 GW of offshore wind projects for a total of 18 GW over the next eight years. But the realization of these projects depends on whether the government passes its proposed Energy Bill, which would provide the necessary policy certainty to developers and investors.
In July, Scotland cut its onshore wind subsidy by 10% amid political bickering about the level of support for renewables. Subsidy levels will be debated again starting in September then the UK Parliament returns from its summer recess, although proposed cuts are likely to be smaller than expected.
Donald Trump is probably the biggest impediment to the wind farm, which would be built off the coast from his "world's greatest golf course," and where he plans a major hotel and residential development. He considers it an eyesore and is doing all he can to stop it.
Nevermind that Trump's golf course development destroyed Scotland's ancient sand dunes and disrupted the lives of the people who inhabit the area. Local governments rejected the project, but because of Trump's aggressive efforts, he managed to get the federal government to override them.
In early August, Bill Moyers did a superb piece on independent filmmaker Anthony Baxter's documentary, You've Been Trumped. It's about the perils of rampant capitalism and gluttonous conspicuous consumption, epitomized by Donald Trump's aggressive efforts to build the "greatest golf course in the world" on what scientists say are the "crown jewels of Scotland's heritage."
This segment is about 20 minutes long, but there's a link to the short trailer below and here's the NY Tiimes review.