By Lynda Williamson
Scottish Green Party leader, Patrick Harvie has urged a new approach to energy generation in a bid to leave a clean source of public income for future generations.
He made his call during a recent Holyrood debate on Fergus Ewing’s motion entitled ‘Oil and Gas, the Success and Opportunities’.
Mr Harvie questioned the wisdom of the Government’s approach to existing oil reserves, claiming that if the world is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C up until 2050, then no more than 1/3rd of the world’s proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed.
The Scottish Green MSP also stressed the need for a managed transition from reliance on fossil fuels saying that “Switching from oil and gas to renewables can’t be done overnight, and the remaining revenues [from oil and gas] should be used to create a publicly owned renewables company as many other countries have done.
“Scotland’s renewable energy market is already worth several billion pounds to the economy – just imagine what opportunities there would be if more of that value could be directed for public good.”
The Swedish Government own the energy company Vattenfall and the Danish Government owns an 80% controlling interest in the Dong energy group. Both companies have substantial interests in the Scottish renewables industry.
This is not the first time the Scottish Greens have called for more public or community ownership of renewables, indeed they have long argued for local authorities to be given the power to create local energy companies. These publicly owned companies would have the potential to deliver much needed income to cash strapped local communities.
In September last year Mr Harvie said that, “In addition to reducing our demand for energy, perhaps the best investment we could make at present would be a massive programme of publicly owned renewables with every council empowered to set up a locally owned energy company.”
He stressed that “rather than see the big energy companies taking all the rewards, we should take early action to keep a share of the economic benefit from renewables in public hands”