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Environmental Recklessness at Scotland’s Wind Farms: Company Admits to Fossil Fuel Use

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According to the Sunday Mail, Scotland’s wind farms have been operating with diesel generators, compromising the country’s attempts to reach net zero emissions. Scottish Power admitted that 71 of their wind turbines were connected to a fossil fuel source after a grid malfunction in December, leading to environmental recklessness. The company claimed the turbines were de-iced, but a confidential informant reported several environmental and health and safety issues, as well as the prioritization of attracting foreign investors over protecting the environment. The informant criticized rising energy costs and corporate greed, while South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth criticized the SNP and Greens for poor management of renewable energy sites.

The source expressed disappointment in the government, who promised net zero emissions but seem to clash with reality. Scottish Power Renewables, a subsidiary of Spanish firm Iberdrola, operates wind farms capable of generating electricity for two million homes. The informant reported technical issues, environmental concerns, such as over 4,000 liters of oil leaking from hydraulic units and contaminating the area, as well as worries about safety and transparency. The informant mentioned turbines malfunctioning and drawing power from the grid, dirty hydraulic oil being released into the countryside, and ongoing safety concerns since a worker died at Kilgallioch wind farm in 2017.

The news of Scottish Power‘s chairman, Ignacio Galan, earning over £11 million in 2021, despite millions of customers struggling with rising fuel costs, sparked criticism. Scottish Power confirmed the use of diesel generators, but emphasized that diesel was not generating electricity and that the reliability of the turbines was measured at 96 percent for 2022. The company claimed to prioritize the health and safety of employees and the public, and to comply with regulatory requirements. The company also confirmed regular inspections and maintenance of power assets, and that all wind turbines use a small amount of electricity for their systems.

Despite being one of the UK’s leading producers of green electricity, Scottish Power faced criticism for not informing the public about the collapse of a wind turbine at Kilgallioch Windfarm in 2017, and for excessive profits, reporting £924.6 million in the first half of 2022 while electricity and gas costs rose. The CEO of Scottish Power’s parent company, Iberdrola, Ignacio Galan, was previously involved in a court case in Spain over allegations of spying, which was closed without further action.

Govind Tekale

A retired teacher at Sainik School Kazhakootam, besides his lifelong reading passion he is now an avid writer.

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