Fresh thinking demanded
Scottish government energy policy branded ‘illogical’
Experts and political opponents of the Scottish government are calling for fresh thinking to ensure Scotland has sufficient energy supplies.
Stuart Paton, a former chief executive of Dana Petroleum and now chairman of oil and mining company Getch said opposition to unconventional energy technology was “not logical” given the government’s support for offshore oil and gas.
In a paper for think tank Reform Scotland, he argues that it is contradictory for the government to have a zero emission target yet offer support to the coal and oil industries, while opposing nuclear power and fracking.
“The government shows unbridled support for the offshore oil and gas industry but not onshore unconventionals,” he says.
“There is significant potential for unconventional oil and gas development in central Scotland in shale oil and gas and coal bed methane.”
He adds that opposition to new fossil fuel resources is “not a logical objection for the Scottish Government given its support of the offshore industry”.
“The key issues onshore can be managed with a robust regulator such as is present offshore,” he says.
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: “This is another expert exposing the SNP’s ludicrous position on fracking.
“As he rightly points out, the Scottish Government is happy to take energy from the North Sea and coal plants.
“Yet it rules out categorically the possibility of extracting energy in an unconventional way.
“Not only does that not make sense, but it risks Scotland missing out on the economic benefit fracking could bring.
“And with two nuclear plants set for decommissioning, fracking is one of very few approaches that could see people’s energy bills drop too.”