Labour leader Ed Milliband’s attack on the SNP target of generating 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewal sources by 2020 has been criticised as “economically illiterate” by the SNP. The SNP plans to boost Scotland’s capacity for renewable energy production in addition to Scotland’s existing capacity to generate electricity from other sources. The plans have been well received by energy industry professionals.
Currently the Scottish government is committed to producing 80% of Scottish domestic energy needs from renewable sources by the end of the decade. The surplus energy generated from non-renewable sources would be exported, creating much needed jobs and revenue for the Scottish economy.
The SNP green energy target has been welcomed by the Scottish renewable energies sector. Chief executive of Scottish Renewables Mr Niall Stewart 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, with Mitsubishi, Doosan, and Gamesa already opening up research and manufacturing facilities in the country.
“It’s ambitious but can be achieved. To do so will require the right market framework, investment in grid infrastructure and skills, and the right balance in the planning system.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of environmental group WWF Scotland, said: “The SNP’s new 2020 renewable electricity target is a vital step in moving towards a low-carbon economy. This excellent commitment will help Scotland meet climate targets, create green jobs and exports and sends a strong message to other countries.”
Mr. Milliband was criticised for his ‘hypocrisy’ by the SNP, who pointed out that while in office Mr. Milliband had failed to release Fossil Fuel Levy funds worth nearly £200 million for renewables investment, and took no action to tackle the discriminatory pricing regime Scottish producers face when supplying energy to the UK grid. Under Milliband’s leadership, the Labour Party has continued to support the expansion of nuclear energy production.
A spokesman for the SNP said yesterday: “Labour’s pro-nuclear attack on Scotland’s renewables potential is bizarre and economically illiterate. As energy industry leaders state, Scotland can meet all our electricity needs from the range of renewable energy technologies by 2020 – and we can generate as much again from our other generating capacity.
“It is abundantly clear that Labour’s obsession with trying to foist dirty and dangerous nuclear power on Scotland is a London-led policy – dictated to Iain Gray by Ed Miliband.”
The SNP has ruled out the construction of new nuclear plants in Scotland, claiming that Scotland has no need for them. As well as major reserves of oil and coal, Scotland is considered one of the European countries with the greatest potentials for renewable energy production. However the party feels that Scotland is being held back by Unionist parties whose energy policies are dictated by the needs of the energy-poor UK, whereas energy-rich Scotland requires a very different set of political and economic priorities.
Pointing to the benefits that have already accrued to the Scottish economy from the SNP promotion of renewable energy the SNP spokeman stated: “The massive investment now arriving in Scotland’s renewables sector from major domestic and international companies shows that they recognise a Scottish Government totally committed to a green, non-nuclear future – and a re-elected SNP Government will deliver exactly that.”