Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wind turbines bring in 'risk-free' millions for rich landowners

There is talk in Ontario of 'community power.'  I haven't reflected on that much, but it always seemed strange that withing one and a half decades of a push to turn away from 'public' power we'd talk about 'community power'
I joked that I felt about communities like Groucho Marx felt about clubs.
Well, the Guardian has a column today that makes sense of 'community power' - I doubt it is an argument that is applicable in Ontario, but ...

Wind turbines bring in 'risk-free' millions for rich landowners | Environment | The Guardian:
"The boom in onshore wind power, likened to a "new industrial revolution", is being dominated by a small number of private landowners who will share around £1bn in rental fees over the next eight years.
Rental payments vary and are secret but, say property agents speaking in confidence to the Guardian, landowners can now expect £40,000 a year "risk-free" for each large turbine erected on their land. Those set to benefit include senior members of the royal family and the Forestry Commission in Wales and Scotland."

"Opposition is growing as the applications flood in. We cannot keep up with the proposals," said Kim Terry from the campaign group Communities Against Turbines Scotland. "I know of 60 groups fighting windfarms in Scotland alone. The tiny bit of money being offered to communities are nothing but bribes. The landowners or developers decide what the money is spent on. We gain nothing, but our properties are devalued and the land is devastated."
The academic and land reformist Alastair McIntosh said: "Landowners have woken up to the fact they can make a heck of lot of money at the expense of those who have lived there for generations. There is a world of difference between a windfarm controlled by a local community and one imposed from outside by a landowner and a multinational company. The people benefiting are the ones who have always worked the subsidy system."

Read the full article at The Guardian site

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