Donald Trump versus the Aberdeen Wind Farm: Fiddling while Rome Burns

Scotland has approved 11 wind turbines in Aberdeen, which will supply have the town’s electricity. They are being touted as job-creators and engines of economic growth, and are locally popular. (Green energy has already created 11,000 jobs in Scotland and the country is rapidly increasing the amount of electricity it generates from renewables).

But Donald Trump, has plans for a golf course near Aberdeen and is threatening a law suit now that the project has been approved.

This was his address to the Scottish parliament on the subject last year:

Golf courses are expensive to play at and Trump’s would likely serve a small elite. Scotland’s admirable plans to move with lightning speed toward 100% of its energy generation from renewables, in less than a decade, is the sort of policy all the countries in the world should be adopting.

The Donald’s complaint that wind turbines are a blight on the beauty of the land is silly. There is lots of land. And, the beauty of the land won’t remain anyway if it is turned to desert or ends up under the ocean. Scotland is doing its bit to avert the catastrophe of climate change caused by dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Trump exemplifies the selfishness and childishness of the current American business class, too many members of which are unimaginative and scientifically illiterate. If they knew what was good for them they’d be lobbying for green energy.

Dreaming of playing golf where wind energy can be generated is the contemporary equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

11 Responses

  1. He’s worried about the beauty?? Is this a first for the Donald? golf courses aren’t exactly natural and beautiful either- they’re highly artificial, cost a bundle to maintain, and don’t generate a kilowatt.

  2. Let eat Donald trump,stick the useless bully in a big fat pot and cook him up, trump soup. Just think off all the people who maybe satisfied with that one meal, maybe he big enough to feed all of Scotland.

  3. I hope someone files a suit against Trump charging that his golf course is a blight on the natural beauty of the Scottish landscape!

  4. “Ugly, noisy and dangerous.” Self-awareness not one of Trump’s strongest suits.

  5. Wind turbines look cool. They don’t blight the land; they decorate it. They give it character.

    Off-shore wind energy projects are the next great era in maritime history, and the turbines are like monuments to that history. Complaining about off-short wind turbines blighting the landscape is like complaining about masts and sails ruining your view of the ocean.

  6. The three major arguments against wind energy all have valid answers. The first, of aesthetic blight, depends on the implication that wind generators are unsightly. The answer to this is recognition that wind generators provide an absolutely essential service to society. Dutch windmills became accepted as beautiful because they literally created the airable land on which a society lived and prospered. People survived because of windmills.

    The second reason, of the arguably true negative biological and psychological effects of low frequency sound, exists only because the majority of projects are corporate in origin. Rotor diameters are huge and installations very expensive making iterative design improvements even more expensive, few in number, and low in periodicity. The specific answers to large dimension rotors are aerodynamic and can be sorted out, albeit much more slowly than if individual installations were only 10% as large. Large installations get the most publicity, both positive and negative, but tend to be over-represented in the national wind generator population because of other systemic governmental, economic, and regulator complexities. The choice of large installation size results in extended negative PR because iterative design improvements are slow, faulty, inadequate, or not undertaken at all due to cost.

    In practical terms however, a more productive alternative is to recognize that while generator sizes that are fractional to large installations give up some rotor efficiency, iterative improvements become cheaper and easier, and in addition smaller rotors generate more manageable acoustic signatures and volumes. The easiest way to describe the systemic negatives for large scale wind generation is to compare US design tendency to a China design tendency. The US will tend to opt for big, expensive, and complex installations that claim the last few possible percent of aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency in order to secure a contract and the larger ‘market share’. The China design tendency will tend to opt for huge numbers of smaller installations at much lower cost, a much wider societal distribution, lower efficiency, a higher number of individual failures (but at a lower systemic repair cost), more frequent improvements, more data points, a wider distribution of power generating points lessening the load on central electrical grids and allowing discreet localization of power generation for remote locales, a much wider distribution of theoretical and manufacturing skill, and a much broader manufacturing base. Comparison of these differing attributes shows that the systemic differences between a US and China design and implementation result in a long term advantage to the China approach, with US tendencies being systemically disadvantageous. This systemic difference should be recognized by Americans as extremely relevant to America’s future for both static and transportation energy sources.

    The third major reason also has to do with installation scale but in terms of time. Any national perspective that does not recognize that energy dependency means dependency on other nations, and that time is a critical factor, is fundamentally flawed. Achieving national energy independence requires a time frame within which it will be accomplished. ‘Someday’ and ‘progress toward’ is insufficient. Successful models of this perspective exist in our own past, in the ‘good war’ that Americans like to cite as a peak example of American ability. An easy one is the Jeep which Eisenhower listed as one of the three most important weapons of WWII. An operational specification was created, interested parties were invited to submit prototypes, a ‘best’ design was chosen, and then parties capable of manufacturing were included in manufacturing, with corporate profit specified but limited due to the national need. It is also noteworthy that the Jeep was an efficient, small scale device with respect to fuel usage, manufacturing simplicity, materials consumption, field repair, and capability of multiple uses, attributes shared (and largely exceeded) by Germany’s Kubelwagen that was a military application of Porsche’s KDF People’s car..

    When time is applied to an essential national goal, planning and actions must work backward from the goal date. If this method is applied to wind generation (as only one of a number of other energy generation methods), and the goal is US energy self sufficiency by the year 2025 (which may in fact not be early enough), then we have 13 years in which to achieve the goal, roughly an annual investment of 10% of the total needed. This goal can be (again) roughly met by an initial manufacturing goal plus 10% per year increase thereafter in manufacturing capability (units installed in the field). This kind of goal is possible with a national manufacturing specification and widely distributed manufacturing (jobs). But it is not possible with a manufacturing and design iteration process that is held captive by glacial large scale design iterations.

    America currently does not have any coherent energy self sufficiency plan and therefore will increasingly fall behind other nations which do have plans and are implementing them. Congress is at fault, and particularly Obama who as the supposed national leader has demonstrated no real leadership or imagination, only a willingness to make placating speeches aimed at those Americans who have informed themselves and are rightly concerned governmental cooperation in assuring their future. But we all share some responsibility for thinking, learning, and acting to achieve a goal that if we do not achieve, we will all suffer. Hoping that corporations will be national saviors for America’s future energy needs ignores the fact that corporations do not share that goal.

    The question is not whether wind generation is unsightly, but rather how much you want to be able to drive and eat at some increasingly imminent date, say 2025.

    • Thank you. There ARE grown-ups in the building. Too bad they are for some reason never in charge of things…

  7. In your first sentence, you say:
    “Scotland has approved 11 wind turbines in Aberdeen, which will supply have the town’s electricity.”

    Shouldn’t that be half?

  8. I can’t believe that you printed this report out of context. There was a whole movie made about Donald Trump and this golf course in which these sc-mb-g Scottish government officials clearly are shown as evil (and anti environmental) as the Donald. His golf course is situated on land that was once one of the most beautiful and natural spots in Scotland, but with the help of the corrupt government officials, he threw the long term owners off this previously protected land to build this totally unnatural golf course and resort. Now he complains about the view from this unnatural place and the officials who gave him this property complain about his complaints. Give me a break.

  9. I can’t believe that you printed this report out of context. There was a whole movie made about Donald Trump and this golf course (You’ve Been Trumped link to imdb.com)in which these sc-mb-g Scottish government officials clearly are shown as evil (and anti environmental) as the Donald. His golf course is situated on land that was once one of the most beautiful and natural spots in Scotland, but with the help of the corrupt government officials, he threw the long term owners off this previously protected land to build this totally unnatural golf course and resort. Now he complains about the view from this unnatural place and the officials who gave him this property complain about his complaints. Give me a break.

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