Scots Reject Trump’s Wind Power Warning

Contrary to the view of Donald Trump, self-proclaimed tourism expert, the development of renewable energy resources will not doom Scotland’s tourism industry.

The conclusion is contained in a report [PDF] released last week by the Scottish Parliament.

trump scotland wind power

image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Trump fears a seaside resort he built will be ruined by offshore wind turbines and has emerged as a loud opponent of wind projects, which are a key part of Scotland’s very aggressive renewable energy policy.

In April, the real estate developer appeared before a Scottish Parliament committee to offer testimony on the subject and said “wind turbines, made in China, are going to be the destruction, almost a total destruction, of your tourism industry.”

When asked what evidence or experts he could cite for his assertions, Trump declared: “I am the evidence. I am a world class expert in tourism.”

A report from the Economy, Energy and Tourism committee of parliament rejected the idea that there would be negative impact on Scotland’s tourism industry. “These assertions were contradicted by research evidence from VisitScotland and others,” the report said.

The report didn’t mention Trump by name, but it wasn’t hard to read between the lines when it continued:

Whilst care always needs to be taken in terms of the planning process and decisions on the siting of individual projects in areas popular with tourists and in our more rural and remote rural areas, no witness has provided the Committee with robust, empirical evidence, as opposed to anecdotal comment and opinion, that tourism is being negatively affected by the development of renewable projects.

In addition to his parliamentary testimony, Trump earlier this year backed anti-wind power ads by the group Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS). The ad showed a row of rusty, broken down wind turbines under the headline, “Welcome to Scotland!”

The picture, however, was actually of a decommissioned Hawaiian wind farm, and the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority in September called the ad misleading on that and several other counts. The standards body ordered Trump and CATS “to ensure that the pictures they used in future ads reflected the types of turbines likely to be used in Scotland, and not to exaggerate the number of turbines likely to be installed or the possible consequences of the Scottish Government’s plans to use wind turbines.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.