This reinforces the results of a UK-wide poll published last week, which found that 67% back wind power. It will be further confirmed by a third poll on energy for Friends of the Earth due out tomorrow.
The polls are all designed to undermine the anti-wind message being brought to Holyrood this week by the US tycoon, Donald Trump, and the protestors he is backing. They think they are winning the battle for public opinion.
But the poll unveiled today found that 39% strongly agreed and a further 33% tended to agree with a statement supporting “continuing development of wind power as part of a mix of renewables and conventional forms of electricity generation”. Only seven per cent strongly disagreed with the statement.
The poll of 1,014 people in Scotland was carried out earlier this month by YouGov for Scottish Renewables, which represents wind power companies. Support for wind power was strongest amongst young people aged between 18 and 24.
“This lays to rest once and for all the idea that people of Scotland do not support wind power,” said Niall Stuart, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables. He urged the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, which is due to hear Trump’s evidence on Wednesday, to take note.
“The facts speak for themselves and we hope the committee will listen to the majority of Scots who have made their opinions very clear on the matter. We believe the public understand the benefits of both wind power and renewable energy.”
The industry was enthusiastically backed by environmental groups and Green politicians who believe that wind power helps cut the pollution that causes climate change. “The people of Scotland have not been fooled by Trump's sudden interest in the Scottish coastline,” said Dr Richard Dixon, the director of WWF Scotland.
“He was quite happy to trash an important bit of it to build his golf course in the first place. Trump's showbiz bluster shouldn't be allowed to distract us from getting on with using the huge energy resources of wind, waves and tides that Scotland has been blessed with.”
The Sunday Herald understands that Scottish Renewables will release more polling results in the next couple of days that will show that most Scots regard Trump’s views on wind power with a healthy degree of scepticism. Even the group he has backed, Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS), is a little nervous of the association.
In its online publicity for the demonstration it is organising outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, it stresses that “this should not be read as support for Donald Trump”. Trump has paid for a series of full-page adverts in Scottish newspapers urging people to support the protest.
“We are working with him as we would work with anyone who was opposing wind farms,” said the chairwoman of CATS, Susan Crosthwaite. “We hope that Donald Trump will attend our demonstration.”
She thought that increasing numbers of people in Scotland were realising that wind power was wrong because it was being so heavily subsidised. “Hundreds” would come to support Wednesday’s demonstration, she said.
“Wind power is all about greed,” she argued. “It’s not about saving the planet.” She was personally in favour of nuclear power instead, and thought that the Scottish government was wrong to block the building of any new nuclear stations.
The CATS protest, though, is likely to be met by a counter-demonstration from environmentalists who support wind power. “It’s highly unlikely that the CATS demonstration and Donald Trump’s presence at the Scottish Parliament will go unmarked,” said Stan Blackley, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland.
“There are a significant number of groups and individuals out there who are either pro-renewables or anti-Trump or both, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some of those might take it upon themselves to make their opinions known to the man and his CATS lapdogs directly on Wednesday morning.”