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Wind turbines used to generate electricity are seen at a wind farm in Guazhou, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province Sept. 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria) Wind turbines used to generate electricity are seen at a wind farm in Guazhou, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province Sept. 15, 2013. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)  

Millions of trees cut down to make way for wind farms

It looks like green energy isn’t so green after all.

Scottish government figures show that millions of trees have been cut down in order to build wind turbines to help the region meet its renewable energy goals.

The Times of London reports that more than 6,200 acres of woodland — or about five million trees — have been cut down since 2007 in order to make way for wind farms to produce renewable energy and fight global warming. But only about 1,957 acres of woodland were planted after the wind farms were built.

Scotland wants to get 100 percent of its power from renewable, but doing so has come at a high cost to the country’s landscape. The Scottish National Party, a left-leaning party that wants to secede from the United Kingdom, has often invoked renewable energy as a path to independence.

Conservative lawmakers have been hammering the government for its support of green energy at the expense of Scotland’s natural beauty. Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser told the Times, “the [Scottish National Party] is so blindly obsessed with renewable energy that it doesn’t mind destroying another important environmental attribute to make way for it.”

“It’s astonishing to see that almost as many trees have been destroyed as there are people in Scotland,” said Fraser, whose party obtained these figures through a government records request.

“The contribution of trees to our environment has been well established through the ages. I’m still waiting to see compelling evidence of the contribution windfarms make,” Fraser added. “They are an expensive and unreliable alternative, and not one that it’s worth making this level of sacrifice to accommodate. If the Scottish Government cooled its ludicrous renewable energy targets, we wouldn’t see this kind of wanton destruction and intrusion on our landscape.”

The UK has been wrestling with the economic and environmental costs of wind power for some time now. Local governments throughout the country have blown millions of dollars on wind turbines that generate little to no electricity and can take hundreds of years to pay for themselves.

One Welsh government-backed turbine was sited so poorly that it only generates about $8 worth of electricity every month and will take 452 years to pay for itself.

“If this project had been started when Elizabeth I was on the throne, it would only be reaching break-even point now, sixty years into the reign of Elizabeth II,” Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told the Daily Express. “It would seem that the turbine’s installation was nothing more than an obscenely expensive vanity project, with unwitting taxpayers footing the bill.”

Wind turbines are also responsible for the deaths of millions of birds worldwide each year. In the U.S., about 573,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year. There are no bird death totals for the UK, but a rare white-throated needletail recently met its demise after flying right into a wind turbine in front of horrified bird enthusiasts.

While there are no figures on UK bird deaths, Mark Duchamp of Save the Eagles International says that there is “most probably a massacre of eagles in the UK.”

“The wind turbines are going to exterminate the young eagles in Scotland. So where does that leave Scotland 20 years from now?” Duchamp said.

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