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Government should not rely on wind

Holyrood urged to embrace nuclear in energy policy

Torness vidOne of Scotland’s foremost energy experts is urging the Scottish government to abandon its reliance on wind and embrace nuclear power.

Stuart Paton, an adviser on energy policy and former chief executive of Dana Petroleum, argues that current policy is incapable of achieving targets on climate change, energy supply and fuel poverty.

In a contribution to a new book from Reform Scotland, he argues that the Scottish government’s approach which relies on onshore and, to a lesser extent, offshore windfarms is far too narrow.

“This does not provide base load capacity, is expensive and is redistributive to wealthy land-owners,” he says. He adds that the removal of the Renewable Obligations for onshore wind farms means they “cannot be a significant further contributor to electricity generation”.

Mr Paton adds: “The government should change its stance and support the construction of new nuclear power stations, most likely at the existing sites at Torness (pictured) and Hunterston.

“This will likely have to follow the British government’s approach and largely be dependent on foreign investment. However, the necessity of providing base load capacity makes support for nuclear electricity generation essential.

“The challenge of climate change does require a decarbonisation of energy but support for nuclear power, unconventional gas, and increased emphasis on reducing energy usage, are all required to meet the challenges of the coming decades”.

Reforming Scotland is a collection of essays from a range of figures from inside and outside politics.

Geoff Mawdsley, Reform Scotland’s director, welcomed Mr Paton’s contribution: “With the challenges we face to our north sea oil industry, as well as recent substantial changes to UK government support to the renewable sector, this is an ideal time to stand back and consider new approaches to our energy policy.

“Stuart is a recognised expert in his field who makes a powerful argument for a new approach. His contribution to Reforming Scotland is a real challenge to this generation of energy policy-makers.

The Scottish government recently announced that renewables now contribute the larger proportion of Scotland’s energy needs.

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