Scottish Energy Minister: UK energy policy ‘fails objectives’

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UK energy policy has been described as ‘inconsistent, incoherent and ineffectual’ by Scotland’s Energy Minister at a major energy conference. Fergus Ewing (pictured) made the comments as he accused UK Government of failing to meet its objectives and jeopardising energy security at the International Tidal Energy Summit in London.

Mr Ewing said: “Last week the UK Government made a ‘dash for gas’ to replace the UK’s ageing nuclear and coal plants, a belated recognition of the UK’s energy crunch. While UK energy policy continues to increase bills and weaken security of supply, the Secretary of State’s new approach is inconsistent, incoherent and will be ultimately ineffectual.

“Inconsistent, as the approach is to build new capacity at the lowest cost and let the market decide which technologies prevail, but skews incentives towards more gas and nuclear power.

“Incoherent, as it rules out support for proven, cheap technologies like onshore wind and solar.

“And it will be ineffectual – we urgently need to tackle the parlous state of affairs that has allowed the capacity margin to dwindle to one per cent, yet there are still delays to bringing on new capacity, including the development of renewables in Scotland.

“Capacity margins will worsen when Scotland’s largest power station, Longannet, closes prematurely next year due to unfair transmission charges.

“Scotland is an energy rich country and the ideal base for exploiting our natural resources such as wave and tidal. The largest planned tidal development project in the world, Meygen in the Pentland Firth, will power 175,000 homes when complete. Orkney developer Scotrenewables has almost finished building its two Megawatt floating tidal turbine, while Edinburgh-based Nova innovation is in the process of installing five turbines as part of the Shetland Tidal Array.

“Marine energy has made huge advances in the last two decades and its development needs continued support, not least the face of worrying evidence that the UK is going to miss its EU renewables targets.

“The UK Government must change its course to provide more certainty for investment in new technologies and ensuring the next capacity market auction does more to bring new, clean power generation forward.”