Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP has laid out to fellow MSPs the key principles of the new Scottish Energy Strategy to be announced by the SNP Government if it wins re-election in May.
• To manage the ongoing change to an increasingly low-carbon electricity generating and power-consuming economy;
• To ensure security and affordability of supply.
Mr Ewing summarised current and future challenges, such as the ‘onslaught’ on renewables by the UK Government and its handbrake policy U-turn to abandon the Peterhead carbon capture and storage project by Shell and SSE in favour of new nuclear power at Hinkley Point-C. Speaking later at the first Scotland Trade Association Scotland conference, he also confirmed that there will be a place for solar energy in the new Scottish Energy Strategy.
Mr Ewing also urged Holyrood MSPs of all parties to ‘celebrate our successes’ which include two major ‘world-firsts’ for Scotland as being major providers of low-carbon electricity, namely:
• The Atlantis Resources/ MeyGen project off Caithness, where the world’s largest tidal turbine array is presently being developed;
• The forthcoming Hywind floating offshore wind turbine farm, to be launched off the Grampian cost by Norway’s Statoil by 2018.
In relation to fracking, the Minister emphasised that the right course for the Scottish Government to take is to continue gathering independent, robust scientific data on health and safety aspects of onshore shale gas exploration during the ongoing moratorium.