A new $2 billion set of golf courses being built by Donald Trump on 500 acres in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is set to open in 2012, despite the protests of local conservationists and environmental groups that the courses will wreck environmental havoc in a “site of special scientific interest” not to mention an example of pristine North sea coast landscape. Now, Trump is threatening action against a new offshore wind farm planned for 1.5 miles off the coast of the two 18-hole courses. According to The Guardian (UK), Trump has said he will use “any legal means” to block the offshore sustainable energy development.
Marine Scotland is considering the nearly $400 million program put together by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which will use the latest generation of windfarm technology. Already, the energy facility’s scale has been cut back to a maximum of 11 turbines after safety concerns were raised by shipping groups. Trump’s concern isn’t about safety though, but about sight lines from his courses: The 195-metre tall turbines will interfere with views. George Sorial, managing director of the Trump Organisation, told The Guardian: ”We are here to stay and I don’t think it’s a good idea to interfere with our investment. We are not going to support a project that compromises what we have done. We will use any legal means in our jurisdiction.”
The Guardian, however, seems skeptical that Trump can succeed in blocking the new project, largely because the windfarm is backed by regional and local governments. The European Commission and Scottish government see this project as a critical pilot, part of a series of “test centers” used to help the UK reach a goal of 7,000 offshore wind turbines, which may actually be possible given the country is currently the world’s leader in offshore wind. Local supporters of the renewable energy project, such as the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and Robert Gordon University, are backers of Trump’s golf course, and may help influence his views. In any case, it’s not clear how his objections could stop the project. What is more important is that there is a local debate on the project and all voices are heard on whether to move forward.
Read the article. Learn more about the global environmental impact of golf courses. Read about industry and Audubon International (not National Audubon Society) and USGA programs to improve the sustainability of courses by building in wildlife sanctuary zones, lowering water usage, eliminating chemical use, or even reusing and including brownfields. Scottish industry groups are also focusing on the issues.
Also, understand the complexity around offshore wind farms. In many sites of natural beauty, offshore windfarms are less than unanimously popular. Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future tells the story of the 10 year battle in Cape Cod between liberal and conservative, environmental and energy, and local Indian tribe interests, along with intense public debate on the pluses and minuses of adding 130 wind turbines in the middle of Nantucket Sound. Only last year did the federal government agree to move forward with the project. Now, there are at least 12 offshore wind projects along the east coast, meaning the U.S. is slowly catching up with Europe and China.
Image credit: Site of Trump Golf course, Aberdeenshire, Scotland / Golf.com