SNP's renewables plans will increase carbon emissions

For immediate release 30 June 2011

Greens today strongly criticised the SNP administration's "2020 Routemap For Renewable Energy in Scotland", which sets out a programme of continued dependence on fossil fuel and reliance on unproven Carbon Capture and Storage technology. SNP Ministers plan to see Scotland's needs met twice over, once from renewables, and once from fossil fuel. Given that renewables already meet nearly a third of Scotland's electricity demand, SNP proposals would require a significant increase in fossil fuel generation and an increase in both emissions and opencast mining.

Greens argue that Scotland can meet its own electricity needs more than five times over from renewables, and that the real purpose of the move to renewables should be to close down dirty methods of electricity generation. The party also points out that regular concerns raised about baseload capacity are best resolved with a combination of better storage and a decentralised and diverse mix of renewable technologies.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"If you want to tackle climate change, building renewables achieves nothing unless Ministers actually take the opportunity to shut down coal, oil and gas plants. Extraordinarily, the SNP's plans would instead see them back new carbon-intensive power stations while crossing their fingers that carbon capture will one day work. This is misplaced ambition, a misunderstanding of the science, and a gross attempt to mislead the public with rhetoric about '100% renewable energy'. Scotland can meet our own needs many times over from renewables alone, and continuing to burn coal here for export is as unsustainable as it gets.

"If this is a 'routemap' then SNP Ministers are lost and confused. They're planning an expansion of coal power that would make Arthur Scargill blush while pretending they give a monkey's about the environment. Scotland should be going truly 100% renewable - that's what people who voted SNP thought they were getting, not this bizarre spin from the coal industry's men in Parliament."

The Scottish Government's energy documentation is available here. Issues above are dealt with in particular on pages 17 and 22 of the Scottish Government routemap.