First Minister welcomes industry chiefs’ green energy backing


by G.A.Ponsonby

First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond has welcomed yesterday’s support for the Party’s green energy targets from senior industry figures.

Mr Salmond was responding to the news that seven leading businessmen hapublicly backed SNP plans to supply all of Scotland’s electricity needs through renewable generation by 2020.

Speaking on a visit to Nigg, one of the areas expected to benefit from renewables, Mr Salmond said that the goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s own electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020 would give confidence to companies.

The SNP leader claimed that this would ensure further investment and  jobs in the sector, which in turn he said will power the re-industrialisation of Scotland.  Mr Salmond also used the visit in order to highlight the potential for 130,000 jobs in Scotland’s low carbon economy by 2020.

Commenting on the SNP’s manifesto commitment to renewables, Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said:

“We welcome the SNP’s ambition and the party’s continued commitment to maximise the level of investment in renewable energy here in Scotland.  This kind of pledge gives investors certainty and will help to attract more developers and manufacturers to Scotland.  It’s ambitious but can be achieved with the right market framework, investment in grid infrastructure and skills, and the right balance in the planning system.”

There was a further boost to the SNP’s renewable policies when Ignacio Galán, Chairman and Chief Executive of Iberdrola, the world’s largest wind energy developer, backed calls for fairer grid connection costs in Scotland.

Senor Galán, whose company owns ScottishPower Renewables’ said:

“Scotland is at the forefront of the renewable revolution.  With fair charging and the correct political will it is entirely credible to see Scotland producing 100% of its own electricity requirements from renewables by 2020 as well as continuing to produce power from a range of other sources.  Iberdrola are keen to be a key part of the investment required to bring that power into production.”

With energy now a central theme of the Holyrood election campaign the voters have a clear choice of the SNP’s renewable vision versus Labour’s insistence that new nuclear power plants need to be built.