Anti-nuclear policy crazy and unrealistic says MSP

SCOTLAND'S energy future and hundreds of local jobs are dependent on nuclear power and Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont is urging the SNP Government to ditch their opposition to it.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 10:26 am

During his speech to the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Perth on Friday, Mr Lamont said: "We have a proud history of energy generation, and in particular, nuclear power. It has created jobs and investment in our country which few other industries have been able to achieve in recent decades.

"But Alex Salmond wants to destroy this. He wants to throw away investment and jobs with his crazy anti-nuclear policy and his unrealistic renewable energy targets.

"Let's not forget that Torness power station near my constituency and Hunterston B power station generates enough electricity to supply over half of Scotland's households. But the SNP wants to press the shut down button at Torness and Hunterston and other Scottish nuclear power stations – and, thanks to the SNP, the lights of millions of households across Scotland will go out.

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"Instead, the SNP are now committed to achieving a 31% share of total energy supply from renewable sources by 2011 and 50% of the same by 2020.

"The Scottish Conservatives are terrified of the energy gap, and we are sick of hearing the disingenuous use of statistics by the Government.

We hear that the installed capacity of renewables is already larger than nuclear, but installed capacity is not the important point; what is important is the amount of electricity that is generated that can actually be used. And I am not alone. There are some pretty senior players in the Scottish business energy community.

"I take the view that most other European countries take when it comes to renewable energy - it is impossible to replace nuclear generation with renewable generation so let's have a mixture of both. It is not a matter of nuclear on the one hand – and renewables on the other – nuclear and renewables are entirely complementary.

"In addition there needs to be an overhaul of the current inadequate guidance to local authorities, communities and developers in relation to the location of onshore wind farms. In other words, we should take a more balanced approach to supporting other renewable technologies which offer long term potential and commercial opportunity for Scotland. In addition to the provision of nuclear power, we should be very keen to make the most of Scotland's extensive wave and tidal energy resource. Marine energy has the potential to provide one of the lowest cost renewable energy sources because of its high power density and its innate predictability.

"Secondly, we should be very keen on biomass and bio fuels. It is at the moment a totally underdeveloped yet abundant resource, which would provide a boost for rural employment. Unlike wind, it is simple to control and could be used in local combined heat and power stations that promote decentralised power.

"We should also be very keen on general energy efficiency: cavity wall insulation and the like. It not only pays for itself but also saves the consumer in the long run.

"And last but no by means least, we should be very proud to now claim that in June 2009, Scottish Conservatives successfully pushed through amendments to the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill which enables green council tax and business rate discounts. For example, that could mean a 100 council tax discount to householders who install home installation."