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"The Government has announced a total of £89 million available in the form of capital grants for demonstration projects including offshore wind." -- Peter Hain, Energy Minister, 20 March, 2001

If you are a giant foreign corporation, our government will pay you to disfigure the landscape....(a portion of all profits received will go to defray the costs of maintaining major US & UK political parties.)

An enlightened corporate partnership proposing to move into an area might offer to set up a community trust with a significant financial stake in any profits. This would be a recognition that without the physical place (which just happens to come with people and other creatures and their centuries of history) there would be no project. The trust would use the dividends from its stake to support village schools and extend other dying rural services. An enlightened partnership would not need to be asked or blackmailed.

At present, we are apparently being offered a rather unequal partnership:
1. The major partners are: TXU, from Dallas, the ninth largest energy company in the world, with a £20 billion turnover, and Offshore Energy Resources Ltd (OERL), a company founded last year in "the square mile". (details below**)
2. They will pay a rental (unknown as yet) to the absentee landlord (Crown Estates Ltd) for the use of the site.
3. The extent of Government capital grants to the promoters is not known.
4. Communities neighbouring the Solway are to receive the price of a half-pint of beer (or a liter of petrol) per resident each and every year. (following appropriate applications for funding, of course)

Are we prepared to sell the Solway for a miser's round?

Those prepared to tug a forelock in hope of a job might find a case study from a completed TXU/ENRON project of very similar scale illuminating:
( html)

Completed in less than a year, the project provided 170 construction jobs (at peak), including contractors and subcontractors and 8 'ongoing operations and maintenance' jobs. Any such bonanza must, of course, be shared with our English colleagues in Cumbria.

As to how many energy-hungry households will be supplied, papers from the proposer's roadshow reckon a megawatt provides enough for almost nine hundred homes, but the same companies' estimates elsewhere consistently average between two and three hundred homes per megawatt. Do Solway megawatts reach parts others cannot?

Meanwhile, TXU has a turnover of £20 billion ($28 Bn) and pays 4.4% dividends on its 263 million shares and more than twice as much to its bankers in interest.

The technology developed by Enron Wind is now owned by General Electric (US) with £90 billion turnover ($129 billion) paying 2.3% on 10 billion shares.

No figures are available for OERL.

The plain truth is:

1. No multibillion corporate entity cares a sausage for our locality, its unspoiled character, its people or anything other than as a place to plant some giant machines to harvest and sell energy for a profit to benefit its shareholders.

2. These are not likely to include many local folk, unless the local trust idea canvassed above were to be implemented...

3. The Scottish Executive has, at best, only a marginally better grasp of our rural concerns than did Whitehall.

4. If, as I fear likely, we are to have little choice whether or not our remaining commons are to be enclosed, concerned local folk, and especially our elected representatives, must see to it that this time we receive good and enduring value in the exchange.

** Details from Companies House:
OERL, Company No 04150735, 7th floor, 1 Fleet Place, London EC4M 7NR;
Established 30 January 2001, The first report, due in February, has not yet emerged.
Secretary: Mr Steven George Downs, a British national, living in Surrey
Directors: Brian Caffyn, a US national with an address in Rome
Ian John Sharpe, a British national, living in Essex
"A specialist renewable energy company dedicated to developing offshore wind farms."

"A civilization that relentlessly destroys the living land it inhabits is not well acquainted with truth, regardless of how many supposed facts it has amassed regarding the calculable properties of its world." -David Abram, "The Spell of the Sensuous"

-- Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatihi
Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you

Ed Iglehart
North Glen

Further tilting at windmills: Grants for Destruction Don Quixote Rides Again Welcome to the Third World What Sort of Folk are the New Neighbours? What is Appropriate in a Scenic Area? Shady Dealings Windfarms Italian Style

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