Calls for low cost electricity for people living near wind farms

Low cost electricity for people who live next door to wind farms could be the key to unlocking the development of renewable energy, says a leading Scottish land use scientist. Despite Scotland's huge wind resource, wind energy development has been slow as many projects got bogged down in the planning process, says Dick Birnie of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen. "I suspect this was largely because there was little or no benefits for those who faced the prospect of living within sight of a wind farm." Birnie calls for special benefits for those whose "back yards" are earmarked for energy generation. "What we need is some creative thinking about new ways of using renewables to help sustain and develop our fragile rural economies," he says, pointing out that many rural communities pay more for their energy than people living in urban areas. While there are logistical reasons for this, it is not exactly helping to create positive support for renewable projects, he says.