Letting the numbers speak for themselves

Written by on 25 July 2014

In the bid for cleaner, greener energy, the renewables industry often seems like it is fighting an uphill battle.

While it is an industry that has built up from a fringe concern to a major employer in the last decade or so, it still suffers from an image problem.

Scan the headlines and the letters pages on any given day and likely as not there will be questions about the costs, or the efficiency of renewable energy.

And even when a real scare story – such as the Imperial College London report into fires in wind turbines – turns out to be a huge exaggeration, the initial damage has already been done.

The industry does still have to prove itself, particularly on those energy resources like wave and tidal where the technology is not yet at a commercial scale, but there often seems to be a stricter liability on those developers than say, the nuclear industry.

All this is while in Scotland, the industry is knocking at an open door, with ministers who time and again back the growth of renewables.

But to win over those undecideds industry body Scottish Renewables is trying a different tack.

At an international Commonwealth Games renewables event held today, it launched its new animation “letting the numbers talk for themselves”.

Almost half of electricity demand comes from renewables, more than double the output in 2007 and more than £1bn was invested in Scotland by renewables companies in 2013 alone, with almost 12,000 working full time in the sector across Scotland – but the body hopes that on screen this will come to life more effectively than simply left on the page.

Quite by chance this week I watched Arcadia, a 2009 film about renewable energy in the Highlands, which culminates (spoiler alert) in the Wicker Man-style burning of a wind turbine effigy, a dramatic image that demonstrates that while public attitudes are favourable to renewables, they still stir up an emotional response from those that are in opposition.

Scottish Renewables hope its video will give aid a cool, sensible look at the debate and its chief executive Niall Stuart said the video is “designed to inform the incredibly important debate about how Scotland meets its future energy needs and set out the benefits of the huge growth in renewable energy output in recent years.”




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