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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 07:36 GMT
How are we doing on renewables?
We have decided that Scotland should aspire to generate 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020

Three years ago, Scotland's Environment Minister Ross Finnie announced an ambitious new target for electricity generation in Scotland.

He had previously stated that 18% of electricity would be generated from wind, wave, hydro, biomass and landfill gas by 2010.

The addition of wind farms to existing hydro projects has pushed the Scottish Executive well on the way to the first target.

As Scotland's nuclear and coal-fired power stations reach the end of their life, will renewables be able to plug the gap in 14 years' time?

DEPUTY MINISTER FOR ENTERPRISE ALLAN WILSON

We are confident that through a mix of energy sources and improved energy efficiency, we will resolve any potential energy gap in the future. An energy review at UK level is currently looking at the best way this can be done.

The intention to extend the life of both Longannet and Hunterston B will be a significant boost to Scotland's energy capacity and increasing numbers of wind and hydro projects are coming on stream.

Scotland also has the potential to be a world leader in marine energy and I look forward to seeing how wave and tidal projects develop in the future.

SNP ENERGY SPOKESMAN RICHARD LOCHHEAD

The SNP supports policies that will turn Scotland into a renewables powerhouse and a centre of excellence for clean technologies.

Scotland is an energy rich nation that can not only be self-sufficient in secure and clean energy but can gain enormous economic and environmental benefits.

There is no need for new nuclear power stations in Scotland. They are unwanted given that nuclear is dangerous, dirty and expensive. And new nuclear stations are not needed to meet our energy needs.

Over and above emerging technologies such as solar, biomass and tidal energy, we can now use our massive gas and coal reserves cleanly.

It is very exciting to see new developments in the pipeline such as the proposal for a hydrogen power station in Peterhead producing carbon free electricity, an offshore windfarm in the Moray Firth and the life-extension of Longannet, Scotland's electricity workhorse, with the installation of clean technologies.

To make this vision a reality, the Scottish Parliament needs the energy powers to ensure energy rich Scotland is able to reap the full benefits of our potential to eliminate fuel poverty and reap the economic and environmental benefits.

SCOTTISH TORY ENERGY SPOKESMAN ALEX JOHNSTONE

We envisage a diverse mix of energy production to best answer Scotland's future energy needs - and a balanced energy policy means that no one existing or potential resource should be ignored.

However, the concerns of climate change and CO2 emissions mean that some modifications will have to be made. That could include increasing our reliance on emission-free nuclear or changing the technology to deal with resources, such as clean coal.

Renewables must also play their part. However, with the current restrictions they pose due to intermittency and their impact on the environment, we suspect that at present this will only be in a limited, supportive role.

But perhaps if the Scottish Executive and the UK Government revisited their renewable energy policy, this would change.

Firstly, by providing proper planning guidance on the siting of wind farms for local authorities, communities and developers.

Secondly, by reviewing the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) system, to encourage entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of renewable energy providers that will provide reliable and constant emission-free energy, like wave and tidal power, and energy from biomass and fuel cells technology.

GREEN MSP CHRIS BALLANCE

The Scottish Green Party wants to see greatly increased use of renewable energy in Scotland. It is vital that we move towards a low carbon and nuclear-free economy to tackle climate change and pollution.

The full range of renewable power sources should be used. Wave and tidal power, biomass, hydro, onshore and offshore wind, solar, geothermal heat, combined heat and power and microrenewable energy - all these and more, aided by reduced energy use through energy efficiency measures - can easily provide for Scotland's needs.

The Scottish Executive needs to provide many more incentives to these industries so that Scotland can also gain thousands of jobs and clean economic development.

Nuclear power is an unsustainable, uneconomic technology from the past that is not wanted and not needed. A bright future lies ahead in renewable energy and energy efficiency if only the political will was there to do it properly.





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