The political and big business battle over the future development of the wind farm industry in Scotland looks set to be a revenue booster for Scottish newspapers as well as dominating the current news agenda.
The Dundee-based DC Thomson newspaper group picked up substantial revenue last week from one part of the anti-wind farm lobby – thanks to a series of full-page advertisements in the Press and Journal, The Courier, Aberdeen Evening Express, and the Sunday Post.
The media advertising campaign kicked off with a full-page colour advertisement in the Press and Journal with a picture of 11 rusting and redundant turbines under the headline ‘Welcome to Scotland’.
The advertisement was booked by CATS (Communities Against Turbines in Scotland) in conjunction with US tycoon Donald Trump who is crusading against wind farm developments planned for Scotland’s coast - especially just off the Aberdeenshire coast close to his £750 million golf resort development at Balmedie.
Trump is also understood to be assisting CATS with its marketing and public relations policy.
The advertisement carries a footnote stating ‘Photo not taken in Scotland’ but Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, accused the Trump organisation of trying to trick the public.
Stuart said the picture in the advertisement was of the Kamoa wind farm in Hawaii, shut down in 2006, after the turbines fell into disrepair.
However, George Sorial, the Trump Organisation’s managing director of international development, countered: “This ad was meant to provoke some thought.”
Trump is to give evidence on Wednesday at the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee as part of its inquiry into the Government’s renewable energy targets.
Meantime Scottish Power has been placing full-page advertisements in a number of newspapers, including The Herald and The Scotsman, in which it points out that it has invested over £1 billion in the UK renewables industry since 2007, and is committed to spending a further £400 million by the end of this year.