Scottish Conservatives take realistic approach to future energy provision

Yesterday, the Scottish Conservatives, through their leader, Ruth Davidson MSP and MEP Struan Stevenson emphasised the need for a more balanced mix of power sources than is envisaged by the Scottish government.

Their strategy is drivenĀ  by three concerns:

  • securing baseload, the ‘keep the lights on’ imperative
  • keeping tariffs to the consumer down
  • taking advantage of all available resources.

These drivers of the strategy mean that the Conservatives are advocating:

  • the use of new nuclear power to secure baseload, with the building of new power station to replace the aged Hunterston B and Torness;
  • the extraction of shale gas and coal methane gas from Scottish reserves;
  • a moratorium on onshore wind – this includes a call for hard pressed councils to be given power to stop all wind farm applications for a year.

Ruth Davidson said that if Scotland gets the energy balance right, it will minimise the cost of energy for consumers and the impact of wind farms on communities across the country.

Struan Stevenson underlined the reality that the currently installed, under application and planned wind farms in Scotland would lead to Scotland overshooting its energy targets.

For Argyll was opposed to nuclear energy but, on the evidence of the total cost – financial, environmental and in their limited lifespans [with early decommissioning and replacement] and their impact on activity tourism – of renewables alongside the variable security of the power they produce, we now accept that new nuclear power is the sane solution to the critical security of baseload. We just have to do it very well and to operate and maintain it very well. And why should we ever aim to do less than that anyway?

We have concerns about shale gas extraction, with the real problem of the safe disposal of significant volumes of toxic fluid wastes and of their potential in use and in disposal to penetrate the water table.

Our concerns centre on the controls that might [not[ be applied and on the integrity of the regulation and monitoring of compliance which night [not] be carried out.

We accept though, that theĀ  responsible, well managed and well regulated extraction shale gas is of potential benefit to the energy mix and to the cost of power to consumers in the short term.

Today [29th January] the Scottish Government is to update its position on meeting its climate change targets on the reduction of emissions. Environment Minister, Paul Wheelhouse will be addressing MSPs on the subject in the chamber at Holyrood later today.

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6 Responses to Scottish Conservatives take realistic approach to future energy provision

  1. Somehow I don’t think new nuclear and shale gas hydraulic fracturing will be a vote winner.

    But then again, the Tories don’t win many votes in Scotland and as a sideline party no one really cares

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  2. It’s gratifying that one of the parties has an energy policy that majors on pragmatism and might deliver a reliable and affordable supply. A pity there’s not much chance of them having much influence barring a huge electoral upset.

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  3. Scoland is heading towards 100% renewable generation capacity by 2020with year on year increases after that.

    With Scotland possibly becoming the first (?) country in the developed world to achieve this, and with huge tidal schemes to come on board thereafter, he future for Europe’s energy rich powerhouse looks bright. Very bright indeed.

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  4. So you put in renewable energy (wreck the scenery in the process), by dotting wind turbines and cutting all the trees down to keep the renewable energy ticking over. Sounds a lot like folk living in rural africa, chopping down trees for their home fires…Whats wrong with good old electricity…we have had it for so long…and it hardly ever fails….And Scottish Hydro are so good at fixing it when it goes wrong…..

    Lets not forget when you got loads of “bald-stumpy” hillsides and other hills that have wind turbines on them….bang goes the tourism, which of course will have a major impact on the local economy….Sounds like rural africa to me – no thought for the future!!!

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