Donald Trump’s organisation backed wind farms in 2010 according to leaked letter

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By G.A.Ponsonby

US Business tycoon Donald Trump claimed he fully supported the Scottish Government’s efforts to make Scotland a green energy powerhouse and backed “appropriately located” wind farms.

The support for the Scottish Government’s renewable energy drive is contained in a leaked letter written in 2010 in which his organisation wishes the Scottish Government’s wind farm projects “every success”.

The emergence of the letter, revealed by the Sunday Herald, is uncomfortable for Mr Trump who flies into Scotland this weekend and is expected to give evidence to a Holyrood Committee later this week.

It follows a series of high profile attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond by the controversial tycoon who now claims that wind farms will lead to Scotland going broke.

Mr Trump recently upped his anti-wind farm rhetoric in an attempt at halting the development of an offshore wind farm test-site that will be visible from his new golf course in Aberdeen; Mr Trump claims the turbines, sited eleven miles out to sea, will spoil the view.

The tycoon recently claimed that by pursuing new windfarm projects, Scotland was creating a “wind farm landscape” and was committing “financial suicide”.

“Does VisitScotland or anyone else for that matter honestly believe that a ‘wind farm landscape’ will stimulate tourism?

“The answer, in fact, is that it will completely end tourism in Scotland.” He wrote in a submission to MSPs.

Mr Trump added: “Your pristine countryside and coastlines will forever be destroyed and Scotland will go broke.”

The tycoon has also previously described First Minister Alex Salmond as “Mad Alex” and accused the SNP leader of being “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline”.

Mr Trump also claims to have been given assurances by former First Minister Jack McConnell that no wind farms would be built anywhere near the site of his golf course development – something Mr McConnell denies.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald, Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “Trump’s thinking on the issue is as inconsistent as it is irrational,

“How can we possibly take his views on renewable energy seriously?  It increasingly seems his bellyaching about wind farms is really about him not getting his own way.”

In the leaked letter, originally sent to Vattenfall’s chief executive, Øystein Løseth and copied to the First Minister, the Scottish government’s chief planner and senior officials at Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen councils, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation writes: “The Trump Organisation fully supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government and the Scottish renewable energy industry to achieve ambitious national targets to meet 20% of Scotland’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020,

“Our clients support proposals for appropriately located wind farms and ultimately wish your projects every success.”

According to the Sunday Herald, the letter went on to express specific concerns about the visual impact of Vattenfall’s scheme off the Aberdeenshire coast, and complain about the lack of consultation.

Last week Mr Trump paid for a series of adverts in Scottish newspapers attacking wind farm projects.  However it later emerged that a picture of a wind farm used in the ads was an old generator that was about to be decommissioned located in Hawaii.

“If this letter represents the position of the Trump Organisation in December 2010, it seems very difficult to reconcile with the position adopted by the organisation in recent months, and with the sentiment of the adverts placed in the Scottish press,” said Niall Stuart, the chief executive of the industry body, Scottish Renewables.

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “He can’t seem to decide whether he’s pro-renewables or not, and is prone to changing his opinion as often as the wind off the Aberdeenshire coast changes direction.”

Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, claimed that the letter was evidence that the Trump Organisation recognised the potential of Scotland’s green energy.

He said: “This shows the Trump Organisation, like many other organisations, sees value in exploiting Scotland’s massive green energy potential for economic and environmental benefit.”

However Mr Trumps attacks led to the intervention of UK PM David Cameron who appeared to back the tycoon.

“We shouldn’t be plonking windfarms all over communities that do not want them,” said Mr Cameron.

“The people who live in a community know what’s best for their community and we should give them a greater say.”

Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who will sit on the Committee that will hear Mr Trump’s evidence later this week, said he was ”confident” Mr Trump’s arguments against windfarms would be ”flattened.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur said: ”It is important that we do not let the spectacle of Mr Trump’s appearance mask the serious underlying issue of Scotland’s energy future and the need to tackle climate change.”