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[ 19-04-2011 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have called on the political parties to commit to a coherent energy plan for Scotland, mapping out our energy supply and consumption for the next 25 years.  Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“During the course of the current Scottish Parliamentary election campaign, many of Scotland’s politicians have become engaged in a bidding war in terms of how much renewable energy Scotland should produce.  However this is only one part of the energy mix that Scotland will require going forward and as a nation we need a clear strategy charting our demand for electricity, heat and transportation over the next 25 years and how these needs can be met.
“There is no doubt that renewables will play a crucial role in electricity generation.  Our economy stands to benefit significantly through its development but if ambitious targets are to be achieved then we need to be clear about where generating capacity will be installed, when it will come online, when grid upgrades will be completed and how baseload will be secured.  We believe that the decade between 2020 and 2030 will be crucial, as most of our large power stations are scheduled to be decommissioned, and it will be essential to maintain baseload electricity generation, including investment in a new generation of nuclear reactors in Scotland.
“The great unanswered question on renewable energy is regarding its long term cost to consumers.  Offshore wind energy at the moment looks as if it is becoming one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity, certainly in comparison to fossil fuels and even nuclear.  With no long term guarantees currently existing over the future of the Renewable Obligations Certificate scheme, we need greater clarity over what Scotland needs, how it can be delivered and at what cost.
“These are the real challenges to our politicians and they need to be addressed sooner rather than later if we are to ensure that Scotland has the energy infrastructure and supply to be able to meet the demands of our economy.”