Ireland with fewer advantages than Scotland possesses has achieved so much more over recent years. It’s economy’s far stronger than ours, its growth’s greater than that of the UKs and poverty’s less harsh for their people than what ours are suffering.
Irish companies have moved into Scotland and now they’re showing what can be done with the bounty of offshore renewable energy. We already have the absurdity of the Neart Na Gaoithe windfarm in the Firth of Forth, which is coming ashore near Torness, being jointly owned by EDF the French State energy and ESB the Irish State Electricity Board.
In a conversation recently with the Irish Consul General I was told it’s that organisations largest ever foreign investment. We’re already paying outrageously high price for ours domestic electricity yet almost all is provided by our own cheap renewable energy. The Irish people will benefit from the profits of the resource we’ll be able to see from our shore, and yet Scottish Power and SSE are privatised. Meanwhile the corporate profits increase with National Grid making £4.6 billion and their CEO pocketing £6.5 million.
Making the contrast between the two Celtic Nations even starker is that with offshore wind, of which Ireland has far less potential than Scotland, they are ensuring profits not just for their state but for their communities. In the recent sale of Irish offshore windfarms coastal communities and those hosting the renewable energy sites will benefit to a sum of 24 million Euros and that’s annually and for at least 20 years.
And that sum has been extracted from a smaller sale. Our resource and hence our benefits should be far greater. But in Scotland as in the UK, there’s no such provision for communities. On land if you’re near an onshore wind farm that legislation applies, and considerable benefit can flow from the turbines. It’s high time the UK government sorted that legislative failing and let our communities benefit as across the Irish Sea.
Ireland never discovered oil and has done so much more. Now with less renewable bounty they again put us to shame.