Dear Orkney News,
Re: a proposed wind turbine development on Hoy, is the situation facing Orkney with regards to public funding. The economic system adopted in the 1980s means that the small percentage of the world population who are super wealthy, are given ever more tax perks, which leaves them with yet more money that they can never spend.
Unless we see a seismic shift in policy this situation can only worsen. Therefore Orkney as a society needs to take a long look at itself, and build a truly self sustaining economy. Given our distance from major economic centres we need to make sure that as much as possible of the wealth created in Orkney remains here.
The key to this I think is electricity. The wealth of renewable energy resources we have gives us the opportunity to strip out most of the largest cost we have which is importing fossil fuels.
I would propose that OIC sets up an Orkney energy company. This would be mainly owned by the people of Orkney through OIC, with a minority stake being available to Orkney residents to invest in (with a maximum stake limit per person). This company would build and operate renewable generation assets, selling the production to local residents, local businesses and the national grid. The presumption would be to always use local service suppliers where available, encourage new local businesses to set up and provide services to the company which are currently unavailable locally (this is happening with local businesses working with marine renewables companies testing devices at EMEC), and partnering local education centres to encourage young Orcadians to take up a career in the renewable energy sector.
Our renewable potential gives us an opportunity which is possibly unique in Scotland, which is to be as close to 100% self sustaining in the energy which drives our community as possible, and own that production ourselves. The question is, do we grab it while we can?
Yours, Jon Southerington, Orkney
For information: Windfarm for Hoy?