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MSPs turn blind eye to failings of government energy policy

The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Tourism and Energy Committee’s recent report on the achievability of the Holyrood government’s renewable energy target [1], is a damp squib, according to the Scientific Alliance Scotland. The Committee has failed in its role of providing a credible, critical assessment of the proposals; the report could have been commissioned by the government itself.

Scientific Alliance Scotland Chairman Professor Tony Trewavas said: “Instead of listening to the scientists and engineers with real experience of electricity generation, the Committee chose to accept the evidence of unqualified political activists. We welcome the Committee’s recognition of the need for more students to study engineering, science and mathematics, but this makes it even more surprising that it did not take heed of the scientific advice offered.”

“Because of this, it failed to get a grip on the costs of the meeting the target, all of which would ultimately be borne by Scottish consumers. Recent assessments by experts in the Scientific Alliance Scotland indicate a likely cost to the average consumer household of £469 in 2020, before any electricity is used at all.”

Other serious errors in this study include failing to establish whether there would be a market for the excess electricity generated, ignoring the game-changing opportunity of shale gas and restating ill-considered and unscientific prejudices against nuclear power.

The Committee also chose to ignore the strong hint from UK energy minister Ed Davey that Westminster would refuse to continue payment of ROCS and landlord rentals to support renewable energy if Scotland were to leave the UK. Independence would then leave Scots households with additional bills of several thousand pounds before any electricity was used. The country would at the same time be denuded of any industry.

Professor Trewavas added: “The clear impression is of a committee which deliberately turns a blind eye to the failings of government policy. This unfortunately reinforces the concern recently expressed by other MSPs that the Scottish Parliament is not governing the country for the benefit of all its people but solely in support of the narrow view of a minority about independence. But the reality of Emperor Salmond’s new clothes will be obvious to all before long.”

[1] for the equivalent of 100% of the country’s energy to come from renewables by 2020

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