Boost for renewables as Scottish energy company rejects nuclear


By G.A.Ponsonby
Scotland’s renewables industry has received a huge boost after the country’s biggest energy company announced its withdrawal from plans to build a new nuclear power station in Cumbria.
Scottish Southern Electric (SSE) is set to scrap plans for its involvement in a nuclear reactor building project in Northern England.  The decision comes after German firm Siemens recently announced it was also withdrawing from the nuclear market place.

The announcement is a serious blow to the UK nuclear industry who are still reeling from the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan.  It also follows the revelation that radioactive contamination around the former nuclear plant at Dounreay will never be fully cleared.

SSE’s withdrawal from the nuclear project was welcomed by the SNP.  First Minister Alex Salmond has already pledged to re-industrialise Scotland using the nation’s immense renewable power resources and the Scottish government remain opposed to the building of new nuclear power plants.
Commenting on SSE’s nuclear withdrawal SNP MSP John Wilson said the move was further evidence new nuclear power stations must become a thing of the past.
Mr Wilson, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Energy Committee, said:
“This withdrawal of SSE is another major blow to the credibility of the nuclear industry and further evidence that nuclear power stations are not the way forward.
“SSE’s withdrawal vindicates the stance of the Scottish Government on renewables and shows that the direction of travel is now toward renewables and away from nuclear power.

“Scottish and Southern’ s attitude is increasingly widespread in the energy sector and shows how well placed Scotland is to meet the targets for renewable energy set out by the Scottish Government.
“The SNP Government’s target for renewables coupled with a move away from nuclear is something which will benefit the economy and the wellbeing of future generations in Scotland.”

SSE’s decision comes a day after Alex Salmond highlighted the unfair system of grid charges that forces Scottish based energy producers to pay tens of millions of pounds to connect to the UK electricity grid whilst their English counterparts received millions in subsidy.

Renewable industry experts have claimed that the charging system risks damaging Scotland’s renewable sector.


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