Doubts over ambitious renewable energy targets for Scotland will form the core of a Holyrood inquiry to be launched today.
The Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee wants to know if Scotland can really become the green energy capital of the world and will consider if the SNP’s target of generating half of electricity from renewable sources within 12 years is realistic.
At the All Energy 08 conference in Aberdeen today, committee convener Tavish Scott will call on the industry to tell politicians what needs to be done to secure Scotland’s future energy needs.
Earlier this year, Scottish and Southern Energy chief executive Ian Marchant said the government’s target of generating 50% of Scotland’s electricity by 2020 was “perfectly laudable” but was about as likely as St Johnstone winning the European Champions League within 12 years.
Mr Scott said: “That wasn’t a throwaway line. It was a frank assessment of the challenge before us if the 2020 target is to be achieved.
“Scottish business leaders say we need faster decision-making and greater predictability in planning decisions.
“We also hear that business needs to have confidence that government policies implemented now will not simply be abandoned or overturned by future administrations.”
Mr Scott said over the coming months the committee would be asking industry, government and independent experts to help establish what type of energy Scotland needed and how it could be achieved.
Mr Marchant, who is also chairman of the Climate Change Business Delivery Group, said he was pleased to see that the focus of the inquiry would be set against the “challenging” 2020 target.
“I am also pleased to see that the committee is going to focus on barriers to sustainable development across the energy sector,” he said.
“We all have a huge responsibility to act swiftly to tackle climate change and secure our future supplies of energy. Politicians of all parties have a responsibility to work together.
“The business community stands ready to work with the inquiry and we look forward to making a contribution that can help Scotland move forwards with determination and speed.”
22 May 2008
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