Energy industry leader calls for collaboration between tourism sector and renewables

John O’Groat Journal & Caithness Courier – Alan Henry 

A call has gone out for the renewable energy sector to work in collaboration with tourism to help create a sustainable economy in the Highlands and Islands.

Energy industry leader George Baxter believes “passionately” that the two can benefit from working together – and insists it has been shown that tourism is “not negatively affected by wind farms”.

He was speaking at the 13th annual Scottish Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Conference (SHREC), sponsored by Harper Macleod in partnership with Highland News and Media.

Mr Baxter has played a key role in a number of renewable energy projects in the Highlands and Islands, including the Stronelairg and Viking wind farms and the Coire Glas pumped hydro storage scheme.

He joined GreenPower as development director in 2019 after 12 years at SSE and became a director of Highland Tourism Community Interest Company (CIC) in December last year.

Mr Baxter explained: “The reason why I joined Highland Tourism CIC as a board member is because I believe passionately these two sectors have shown they can work together but they can do so much more.

“From experts on the ground and published research evidence, it is clear that tourism is not negatively affected by wind farms or other renewables projects. On the contrary, we have seen progress in low-carbon heating, the electric vehicle charge network fast-tracked and interpretation of renewable developments that have provided unique visitor experiences.