The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum has today submitted its views to the Scottish Government’s energy futures strategy. (1) NFLA welcomes much of the ambition of the Scottish Government to continue to drive a renewable energy revolution forward, but calls for even greater ambition in a number of important areas, including renewable heat and transport.
The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy looks at its plans to continue to decarbonise the Scottish economy and it looks to increase further the development of low carbon electricity, heat and transport over the next three decades. Scotland is much further ahead with the development of renewable electricity generation than any part of the United Kingdom, and the Energy Strategy places an ambitious target of 50% of all energy (electricity, heat and transport) being generated by 2050. NFLA welcomes and supports this commitment.
In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation of its strategy, NFLA:
- warmly welcomes the new focus on developing local energy economies;
- is disappointed by a lack of practical concrete support for the Scottish solar industry;
- is concerned about the impact of shifting large numbers of households onto electric heating, and believes that, along with establishing more district heat networks, more of a focus on ‘green gas’ could avoid the grid problems associated with the huge peaks in demand likely on a cold winters day;
- believes that the concept of base-load generation is obsolete. What is required is flexible power (and flexible demand too) so that supply and demand can be matched instant by instant.
- would like to see more investigation into the role of CHP-district heating and geothermal heating in balancing green energy;
- would like to see more concrete steps to support low carbon heat;
- fully supports the aspirations of the Scottish Energy Efficiency Programme, it is our view that the timetable though is far too slow and the plans still short of detail;
- feels that the focus for the oil and gas industry should be on assisting a just transition for those working in the industry rather than on maximizing recovery of oil and gas from the North Sea, which could well end up being a dead end in policy terms. (2)
As the strategic approach to local energy schemes takes on a greater significance, NFLA particularly welcomes the commitment of the Scottish Government to cooperate with Scottish Councils to deliver Scotland’s energy future. NFLA believe this Energy Strategy is very much going in the right direction but needs a little ‘fine tuning’ to deliver the low carbon commitments at the centre of the policy.
NFLA urges the Scottish Government to actively engage with groups like the NFLA, environmental NGOs and trade unions to ensure the important detail of their consultation responses is incorporated in the Government’s final policy.
NFLA Scotland Forum Convener Councillor Bill Butler said:
As a strong advocate of local decentralised energy, I am pleased with the general direction of travel of the Scottish Government in their energy plans for the next 30 years. The Scottish Government has to face up to the real problems that the UK Government has recently created by slashing subsidies to support renewable energy. It will need to find innovative ways to support the industry and the thousands of jobs under threat by these actions. The NFLA does not support life extensions for existing nuclear stations and, given the publicised problems of cracking in the graphite bricks, believes that provision should be made for the closure of Torness and Hunterston B earlier than planned. Real ambition has moved Scotland much faster down the low carbon road than England or Wales, but even more could be achieved with a little more ambition from the government.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Scottish Government Energy Strategy, February 2017 https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/draft-energy-strategy/
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 155 giving its views on the Scottish Energy Strategy is attached with this media release and published on the NFLA website – https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/A268_NB155_Scottish_energy_strategy.pdf