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SNP’s green energy policy possibly illegal, says group

An anti-windfarm group has claimed the SNP government’s green energy policy is not fit for purpose – and possibly illegal.

The campaigners say the updated 2020 Renewable Energy Routemap for Scotland conceals the “true costs” and makes “unwarranted” assumptions about surplus electricity and future technologies.

Ministers want the equivalent of all of Scotland’s electricity needs generated by renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Following recent increases in generation, First Minister Alex Salmond announced late last year that the 2015 target was to be increased from 35% to 50%.

Stuart Young, of Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, claims the route map’s “inherent deficiencies” left it “doomed to failure”. He said because it was not supported by a “competent” environmental assessment, the plan “may not actually be lawful”.

According to the forum there are several instances in the route map where the “reader is misled or simply not informed”.

It claims the plan fails to take into account the £110billion the Department of Energy and Climate Change estimated will be needed to transform the electricity infrastructure across the UK.

Mr Young said the map assumed a market for surplus electricity in England “which probably does not exist”.

In a submission to tomorrow’s meeting of the economy, energy and tourism committee at Holyrood, Mr Young says: “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Scottish Government energy policy is not fit for purpose.”

But a government spokeswoman said: “The policy aims contained within the Renewable Energy Routemap have been subject to a formal strategic environmental assessment, including public consultation. The update makes clear that we are making excellent progress towards our renewable energy targets, and in supporting the wide range of renewable resources which will make an important contribution.”