In a devastating critique of UK energy policy, Options for Scotland warn that urgent action would need to be taken by an incoming Scottish government to halt the huge expansion of energy capacity, especially offshore wind which would produce intermittent power for which there would be no market. The bill for this would fall on consumers and accelerate fuel poverty.
This was said by Nick Dekker, author of the paper, Electricity Generating Options for Scotlandtoday 19 March 2013 at 1.30pm in the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh. He continued:
“Currently UK energy policy is an almighty mess. Mainly affecting England which could face major shortages of power at peak periods, the energy policies are at the mercy of the energy suppliers, the majority of which are foreign owned. They look at energy as a milk cow for profits whereas countries require longer term approaches. By contrast, the over-generous London subsidy policy has led to a stampede for expensive wind energy far beyond Scotland’s needs.
We will end up with around 25,000mw from all sources which will be 5 times our average daily maximum. And if we don’t need these supplies and there is no market for this expensive power, Scottish consumers will have to pay for them!”
Gordon Wilson, Director of Options for Scotland added:
An independent Scotland must look upon these energy issues carefully. We need the cheapest source of electricity for our domestic and industrial consumers – no ifs, no buts! If an international market for green energy develops, especially from Scotland’s vast potential for power from the marine resources of wave and tidal flow, then we can develop these – but on one major condition that the commercial benefits go to the Scottish State and thus to the Scottish taxpayers and consumers. In this, there is no difference from Scotland’s oil and gas. If we have a marketable commodity that others want, they must pay for it and bear the interconnector costs in whole or apart. In the meantime, we should ca’ canny!
Based on this analysis, Options for Scotland has identified the following nine choices open to incoming Scottish Governments.
1. More State involvement in planning and executing future electricity generation, including a possible state-owned generating company.
2. Scale back the 100% by 2020 target on carbon emissions and concentrate on lowest cost electricity, with production for export considered only when a profitable market beneficial to the Scottish consumer exists.
3. Use the Crown Estate to control development and have a moratorium on new offshore wind.
4. Return ownership and control of the Scottish grid to Scotland.
5. Abandon the FiT scheme as non-economic.
6. On the basis of overcapacity, suspend any consideration of nuclear.
7. Implement research and commissioning of carbon storage (CCS).
8. Increase investment in research and industrial development of potential wave and tidal flow marine energy.
9. Expand conventional hydro under a state company with an option to acquire privatised hydro stations on payment of reasonable compensation, given exploitation of unjustified subsidies.