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Trumped-up complaints about offshore wind farm

How on earth can US tycoon Donald Trump’s plans for a luxury golf course hinder progress in Scotland’s vibrant renewable energy sector? Guest author Jamie Mckenzie investigates.

Donald Trump, the billionaire US businessman, has launched an international tirade against the Scottish government’s plans for an offshore wind farm development that would be situated an estimated mile and a half away from his £750m luxury golf resort at Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.

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How on earth can US tycoon Donald Trump’s plans for a luxury golf course hinder progress in Scotland’s vibrant renewable energy sector?

Donald Trump, the billionaire US businessman, has launched an international tirade against the Scottish government’s plans for an offshore wind farm development that would be situated an estimated mile and a half away from his £750m luxury golf resort at Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.

The incensed reaction to the planned 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen bay, came in the form of Trump’s open letter to Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, on February 9. Trump’s negativity is evident from the start of the letter with the business tycoon referring to the term wind farm in speech marks as if to suggest something surreal.

He then writes, “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history!

“You seem hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline and therefore, Scotland itself – but I will never be ‘on board’, as you have stated I would be, with this insanity.”

The letter augments previous complaints equal zeal.

The £150m offshore wind project, spearheaded by Swedish electricity company Vattenfall in a joint venture with engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, is actually a positive demonstration of Scotland’s capacity to propel forward its renewable revolution, with offshore wind energy at its core.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman, said, “Scottish waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind energy.

“A recent study suggests that harnessing just a third of the practical resource off our coast by 2050 would enable us to generate enough electricity to power Scotland seven times over.”

With this resource potential, the development of Scotland’s offshore wind farm industry will be critical for meeting the SNP’s target of generating 100% gross annual electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP, said, “What Mr Trump needs to understand is that

Scotland will live up to its responsibilities to tackle climate change.

This letter is a rather desperate attempt by a rich man who is used to getting his own way.”

On top of the drive to meet future climate change targets, offshore wind projects like this will attract inward investment and create job opportunities, catalysing further growth in the sector.

A Scottish government initiative steered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), already funds 50% of staff training costs for organisations working in low carbon technologies. Called the Low Carbon Skills Fund, it supports the sustainability and growth of Scotland’s small businesses through up-skilling and re-skilling employees. Indeed, such sustainable funding ensures that the specific training and apprenticeships needed to keep up with the development of the offshore-renewable industry are already in place.

Clearly, this is a concept that Donald Trump doesn’t grasp. He overlooks the fact that collaborative efforts between the government, offshore wind industry leaders, key renewable agencies and specific college training, is key to the fundamental way in which Scotland’s economy and society are changing.

North East Scotland Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald accused the business tycoon of using bully-boy tactics stating, “Donald Trump needs to realise that simply because he is investing in one project, it does not give him a veto on any other project.

“The right choice for the north east [of Scotland] is to support the offshore renewables development – a crucially important industry for our part of Scotland.”

Niall Stuart, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said, “Who is Donald Trump to tell Scotland what is good for our economy and our environment? He completely overblows the impact of the proposed wind farm”.

The message from political leaders and pro-renewable energy groups in the country is clear. This emotionally charged outburst should not undermine Alex Salmond’s plans to drive on and meet Scotland’s future renewable energy targets.

If the wind farm gets the green light later this year, and Trump ends up pulling the plug on his £750m luxury golf resort, then perhaps he’ll grasp a sense of what it feels like to not always have things his own way. A feeling that would echo the frustration and devastation felt by long-standing residents of the Menie estate, who strongly opposed the Trump organisation’s invasion of their land by bulldozers and cash in the first place.

More can be learned about the news, events and planning in the Scottish offshore wind industry on the Offshore Wind Scotland website. If you are interested in how to generate renewable electricity, look at the Good Energy website – the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier.

Photp: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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