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Leading renewable energy industry and environment specialist, George Baxter, has called for the renewables and tourism sectors to collaborate for the benefit of Highland communities.
He was speaking at the 13th annual SHREC (Scottish Highlands and Islands Renewable Energy Conference) on June 23 and says millions of pounds could be directed into sustainable projects, creating a sustainable legacy in both sectors for the Highland region.
A wide range of renewable sector professionals tuned into the virtual conference to hear a variety of speakers, including Mr Baxter, who has played a key role in numerous renewable energy projects in the Highlands and Islands, including the Stronelairg and Viking Wind Farms and the Coire Glas pumped hydro storage scheme in the Great Glen.
He joined GreenPower, a Scottish-owned independent, renewable energy business, as development director in 2019 after 12 years at SSE, contributing to the consenting and construction pipeline of more than 3.5GW of renewable energy and storage projects. He became a director of Highland Tourism CIC in December 2021.
Mr Baxter said: ‘The reason why I joined Highland Tourism CIC as a board member is because I passionately believe 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 project. On the contrary we have seen progress in low carbon heating, the electric vehicle charge network fast tracked, and celebration with interpretation of renewable developments that have provided unique visitor experiences.
‘My epiphany was that both industries have a responsibility to work together to create a sustainable economy across the region. And with the climate emergency as an over-riding priority for every one of us the responsibility has never been greater.
‘Highland Tourism CIC has established a specific Climate Change Leadership Group which which is now working hard to bring these two sectors together in a meaningful and sustainable way.
‘As we bounce back from the pandemic and deal with the cost of living and energy crisis, this work has never been more important.’
Mr Baxter’s blog, where he expounded on at the SHREC, can be found at www.harpermacleod.co.uk/insights/george-baxter-greenpower-international/
Or on the Highland Tourism CIC website.