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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Green Energy Day

It is a momentous time now that Scotland produces more energy from renewables than from nuclear, and let us hope that this trend continues until nuclear power becomes a relic of the past.

BUT, to achieve that requires prompt and difficult decisions that the Government must not and cannot duck.

You cannot take installed capacity out of the system and not replace it, unless you can slash consumption; and that seems to be the one course of action that is unattainable at present. Yes, there will be some consumption reduction, but not anything significant, as the policies to deliver that are just not being put forward by any party.

Let's get rid of nuclear, but how do we keep the lights on?

Coal seems to be rearing it's ugly and dirty head, for obvious party political reasons, but without any way to clean the outputs you end up badly potentially polluting the surrounding areas. Gas scrubbing technology will get rid of some of the pollutants, but not enough.

The only alternative sources that the Government seem to be supporting are the possible tidal technology in the Pentland Firth, and the use of carbon dioxide sequestration to pump more oil from the North Sea.

I have a problem with the later, as it does nothing to reduce the production of CO2 and merely gives everyone an excuse to continue with wasteful behaviour.

To bridge the gap there are going to have to be some quick decisions; if tidal works in the Pentland Firth then it will have to be rolled out everywhere quickly, and that means pylons striding the hills to bring the power to market. Already the first stories opposing wave power as it will affect dolphins have started to appear.

However, the biggest challenge will be finding any SNP politician who supports any major development in their own back yard.

Virtually every SNP MSP has opposed any windfarm development proposed for their own area, whilst blithely making warn noises about supporting renewable energy. It is perhaps best summed up by the quote from our own MSP in Saturday's Times, "Where a community sees it has ownership of a windfarm*, most people are very positive. Where they see a big corporate interest coming in that is a very different thing."

So there you have it, corporate investment in the Western Isles for renewable energy is A Bad Thing, but BP setting up a gas burning power station in Peterhead (Alex Salmond' s constituency) is apparently the sort of big corporate interest that people don't see as a very different thing - or some such similar verbal gymnastics.

So, just how are the SNP going to square the energy circle? Leave it for the next Government?

* The Western Isles would own at least 25% of the Lewis windfarm for community benefit, a fact that Mr Allan and Mr MacNeil ignore, as they refuse to engage with the Council to ascertain these facts.

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