Scotland politics

Alex Salmond responds to Donald Trump wind farm attacks

Alex Salmond [Pic: Reuters] and Donald Trump [Pic: AFP]
Image caption Alex Salmond told Donald Trump that offshore wind was vital to Scotland

First Minister Alex Salmond has told US businessman Donald Trump he is determined to ensure Scotland reaps the benefits of offshore wind.

His comments came in the wake of a series of attacks by the entrepreneur on the SNP's green energy drive.

Mr Trump is objecting to a planned offshore wind development near the site of his £1bn Aberdeenshire golf resort.

In a letter to the tycoon, Mr Salmond said offshore wind was worth £30bn of investment to Scotland.

In one of his most recent attacks, Mr Trump said Scotland was committing "financial suicide" by wanting to create a "wind farm landscape" which would kill off tourism.

And on Thursday, the tycoon welcomed South Korean firm Doosan withdrawing plans to open a wind farm research facility in Renfrew and a factory.

He urged Mr Salmond: "Please learn something from all of this - don't destroy your coastlines and your countryside with the monstrous turbines.

"Your country will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid."

Responding publicly to Mr Trump's concerns for the first time, the first minister wrote: "I don't expect you to support the development of offshore wind in Scotland, but I hope this letter will allow you to understand the position of the Scottish government in terms of the importance we place on this industry's great potential."

Mr Salmond said the £150m, 11-turbine offshore development, planned for close to Mr Trump's golf resort at Menie, was a testing facility rather than a conventional wind farm.

Laying out his government's vision, the first minister wrote: "It is my belief that Scotland's great cities and ports are ideally placed to become a key hub for the rapidly growing multi-billion pound offshore renewables industry.

"Our waters are estimated to have as much as a quarter of Europe's potential offshore wind energy, and we are perfectly positioned to develop the technology that will power this renewables revolution."

Mr Salmond added: "I am determined that communities across Scotland will benefit directly from offshore wind, which is forecast to generate about £30bn of investment and lead to the creation of up to 28,000 Scottish jobs."

The Scottish government has also disputed Mr Trump's claims over wind farms damaging tourism, saying visitor numbers - including those from North America - were on the rise.

The letter came ahead of Mr Trump's appearance next week before the inquiry on green energy, being conducted by the Scottish Parliament's economy committee.

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