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MSPs warned over renewable energy

A Glasgow energy company boss has warned that unless more power stations are built in Scotland the country will be in danger of seeing “the lights go out”.

Chief executive of global specialised energy company Aggreko Rupert Soames said focusing on long-term renewable energy goals created the risk of looming supply problems being ignored.

Speaking at a business conference in the Scottish Parliament attended by leading SNP cabinet ministers, Soames questioned the renewable energy policies championed by Holyrood’s political parties and called for the continued use of nuclear power.

In particular, he highlighted aims to de-carbonise power without nuclear power, gain a meaningful contribution from tidal power and generate 10% of energy from wind.

Claiming that “our ship is heading towards the rocks”, he said key questions should be asked of political leaders before they were “allowed on the bridge”.

MSPs have drawn international plaudits by passing climate change legislation committing Scotland to cutting carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

First Minister Alex Salmond wants Scotland to become a world leader in renewable energy and opened the conference with a speech supporting tidal and wind power.

But Soames, 51, the grandson of Winston Churchill and brother of Tory MP Nicholas Soames, said: “Absent a massive and immediate programme of building new power stations, with concrete being poured in the next two years, we will be in serious danger of the lights going out.”

Aggreko describes itself as a world leader in the rental of power generation and temperature control equipment. The firm provides temporary power to large-scale events, such as the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and works in countries with power shortages.

Readers' comments (4)

  • It seems that at last someone is speaking sense. Derek Godfrey (F)

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  • I believe that this Institution lowers its general standing and respectability by unquestioningly supporting the foolish and falsly based politically "correct" measures, in favour of "Carbon Free Electricity Production".

    Our Polititicians jump on the grossly expensive efforts to replace sensible electricity production by ineffective and inadequate alternatives to Nuclear Power and well proven production methods, and ignore all the evidence that wind and similar production methods will prove to be quite inadequate before twenty years have passed.

    The Institution ought to know better.

    John Mccaughey (F)

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  • As Professor MacKay says in his excellent book 'Sustainable Energy without the hot air'. 'We are inundated with a flood of crazy innumerate codswallop'.This just about sums up the utterances of most Scottish MPs and many others in positions of power.

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  • Sustainable power generation is not an alternative to nuclear power, they each have their own generation characteristics, sustainability characteristics, economic characterisitcs, reliability risk and safety risk. This is not an either/or situation, we need to balance need against urgency against serviceability against cost against risk. Maybe the Scottish Parliament are not getting the balance right and maybe they do need to be alerted to the consequences, but some of the cycloptic responses above again reveal jaundiced views without any meaningful contribution to this important debate.

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