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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 16:05 GMT
Finnie's upbeat message on energy
Wind turbine
The review sets out new UK targets on energy
Environment Minister Ross Finnie has delivered an upbeat message on Scotland's renewable energy potential.

Mr Finnie was speaking after a UK-wide energy review recommended that the proportion of Britain's electricity generated from renewable sources should be increased to 20% by the year 2020.

The minister said there was "massive potential" to develop environmentally friendly methods of energy generation, such as wind and wave power, responsibility for which is devolved to Scotland.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie: "Cost effective action"
Officials said the country was on course to generate 18% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and that could reach 28% by 2020.

About 12% of Scotland's electricity at present comes from renewable sources, mostly hydro.

To meet the executive target of 18% by 2010 requires about an extra 700 to 800 new wind turbines.

But new developments for wind power plans in Scotland amount to three times that total, according to executive sources.

Mr Finnie said: "I am pleased the review has emphasised the importance of many of the themes which we submitted in the Scottish Executive's submissions to the energy review, particularly the key roles of energy efficiency and renewable energy as immediate priorities for cost-effective action."

"I very strongly agree that there should be a period of public consultation and debate on the key recommendations of the energy review.

The executive has made it clear that it sees no prospect of new nuclear until the radioactive waste disposal issues are resolved

Kevin Dunion, Friends of the Earth
"We will be working with Whitehall on how the executive might contribute to that public debate."

Mr Finnie said a longer term renewable energy target would be a key objective.

Energy policy is a matter reserved to Whitehall and the review was carried out by the Performance and Innovation Unit of the UK Cabinet Office.

But several key areas within energy policy are devolved to the executive, including promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and consents for new power stations.

Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the energy review, but criticised the renewable energy target of 20% by 2020 as inadequate.

Waves, BBC
Scotland's coastline offers a source of wave power
It also called on the executive to respond to the review by ensuring that all future spending commitments contribute to "vastly" improving energy efficiency.

The executive said it planned to increase the budget of the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland by 28% this year.

The report left open the option of nuclear power.

But Friends of the Earth in Scotland said there was not enough incentive for more nuclear power in Scotland.

Spokesman Kevin Dunion said: "The energy review is not providing for the huge subsidies and favourable conditions that the nuclear industry wants.

"Renewables are coming down in price, making nuclear too expensive.

"In any case, it is up to the Scottish ministers to approve any planning application.

"The executive has made it clear that it sees no prospect of new nuclear until the radioactive waste disposal issues are resolved which will take many years to achieve."

See also:

14 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
UK faces hard energy choice
12 Nov 01 | UK
Q&A: Wind and wave power
13 Dec 01 | Scotland
Giant wind farm for island
03 Sep 01 | Scotland
Nuclear debate fuels speculation
27 Sep 01 | Scotland
UK 'first' power scheme launched
23 Jul 01 | Scotland
Wave power test site chosen
30 Nov 00 | Scotland
Executive pledge on green energy
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