Green energy target branded unrealistic and unattainable
THE Scottish Government's target of generating 100 per cent of the country's electricity needs from renewables by 2020 is unrealistic and unachievable, according to a leading economist.
Inverness-based Mackay Consultants forecasts that while renewables production will rise substantially, it will reach only 39 per cent by 2020.
The report stresses that most of Scotland's electricity generation will continue to come from the country's nuclear, coal and gas-fired power stations.
It says these power stations generated 74 per cent of the electricity produced in 2010.
"That share will fall slowly but steadily over the decade to 2020 but there is no way that renewables can replace it entirely. In particular, the nuclear and thermal power stations will continue to be needed for base load electricity generation."
Tony Mackay, the main author of the report, said there will be major changes in the structure of Scotland's energy industries in the period to 2020.
There will be a decline in North Sea oil and gas production from Scottish waters, the nuclear industry faces a difficult time following the disaster in Japan and it seems likely that Cockenzie, one of Scotland's two coal-fired electricity power stations, will close in the next few years, he said.
Mr Mackay said his is the first report to provide a "realistic and objective assessment" of how Scotland's energy industries are likely to develop in the next decade.
"There is confusion and errors - deliberate or otherwise - in many of the other reports between energy production and consumption, and also between electricity generating capacity and actual generation, particularly for wind farms.
"In contrast, our report tries to give realistic and objective assessments of developments in each of the energy industries."
Mr Mackay says the North Sea oil and gas industry accounted for 93 per cent of energy production in 2010 and other industries such as wind energy and coal only 7 per cent.
According to the report, total energy production in Scotland last year was made up of oil (66 per cent), gas (27 per cent) coal (4 per cent) with nuclear, hydro and other renewables providing 1 per cent each.
He argues that these percentages will change little over the next decade.
Mr Mackay also says that in 2010 the electricity industry accounted for only 18 per cent of final energy consumption, much lower than the 42 per cent share for petroleum products (mainly petrol and diesel for transport) and the 37 per cent for natural gas (mainly for heating).
"It is difficult to understand therefore why electricity generation is such a high priority for the Scottish Government."
The assessment was dismissed yesterday by the Scottish Government.
A spokesman said: "This analysis is wrong. Scotland already produces over a quarter of electricity from renewables and we have enough renewables capacity installed, under construction or consented to provide almost 60 per cent of our electricity needs."By 2020, Scotland will be generating double the amount of electricity we need, with additional electricity generation met by clean energy plants progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage technology."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North