Father of renewables backs SNP strategy

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by G.A.Ponsonby

The SNP has today welcomed the news that Professor Stephen Salter has backed the party’s green energy targets which would see the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs coming from renewables by 2020.

Professor Salter is the pioneer of marine renewables.  He led the Edinburgh University team that designed and developed the ‘Salter’s Duck’ wave energy converter in the 1970s and has since been working on turbines for the Pentland Firth.

Earlier this year he was awarded the inaugural Saltire Prize medal recognising his outstanding role in the development of marine renewables.

Professor Salter’s endorsement comes on the back of the support that the 100% renewables target has received from industry leaders and environmental groups.

Professor Salter said:

“The SNP is right to say that with a combination of Europe-wide inter-connectors, intelligent load management and backup generation Scotland will be able to generate more electricity from renewable energy than it uses.  We can also produce enough electricity to drive plant to synthesize liquid fuels and gas.  We have vast renewables resources in Scotland, especially around our shores.  Coupled with decades of engineering excellence and a strong industrial base Scotland can become a clean green energy hub.

“There have always been those who have doubted our capacity for generating our electricity needs from renewables sources.  I have found that lack of ambition depressing and even a threat to this massive opportunity.  Meeting the target by 2020 is ambitious.  Success will depend on many factors, not least political leadership, but I believe they are technically achievable and exactly the kind of targets that our Government should be setting.  However the targets will never be achieved unless somebody with sufficient determination sets them.  I believe Alex Salmond has that determination.

“We are only starting to tap into the vast potential of our seas such as offshore wind as well as wave and tidal.  We should absolutely be aiming for the equivalent of 100% renewables, while investing in other sources of electricity as well.  That will give industry the certainty to continue investing in Scotland bringing tens of thousands of jobs across our nation.”

SNP spokesman for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:

“Stephen Salter is the father of the renewables industry who has helped build up this sector from its foundations.  He has forgotten more about the industry than most people will ever know.

“As usual Labour are shown wanting, with no ambition or leadership.  If it was left to Labour, Scotland would find itself left behind in the low carbon revolution that is sweeping Europe.  We can’t let them cost Scotland jobs and investment.

“Already we have the capacity to meet almost 60% of our electricity needs from renewable sources, and over the next week the SNP will be continuing to campaign on our vision to re-industrialise Scotland.  That will bring tens of thousands of jobs to communities across the country.  We will not let this opportunity pass Scotland by.”