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Renewables won't keep Scotland's lights on, says ICE expert

Future use of fossil fuel in Scotland will be “unavoidable”, and renewables cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on, an ICE Scotland representative said last week.

ICE Scotland’s energy spokesperson David Anderson said: “In Scotland, the wind doesn’t blow all the time, nor does the sun shine, so fossil fuels will remain important sources of energy for the next 50 years.”

Anderson said he supported a focus on renewables, but stressed that, with 80% of Scotland’s power plants due to shut down by the end of the decade,  “we have an energy gap fast approaching, so continued reliance on fossil fuels will be unavoidable.”

He added: “We do not want to get to the stage where Scotland has to import power simply because we did not maximize the potential of our natural resources when we should have.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • I agree with David Anderson that we are simply not making enough progress on renewables at present. We could do so much more - see "Sustainable energy without the hot air" by Prof David Murray FRS, which is available for free. You can read or download at It won't be easy to make ourselves self reliant, but it is do-able if we want to. And it's much easier for the Scots than the rest of us!

    Peter Gardiner FICE

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  • Renewable energy could produce storable liquid fuels, which could be used for peak electricity or to tide over short or longer seasonal periods of renewable energy shortfalls. Expressions of interest should be invited, and incentives offered, to develop them.

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  • I believe that Scotland is well placed to to harvest renewable energy.
    It is true that the wind does not always blow or the sun always shine, but the tides come in and out twice a day & water always flows down hill.
    We may need to pump some of it up the hill during the windy days, or even split water into hydrogen & oxygen.
    Investment & planning are needed.
    If we need a little nuclear or fossil to give the base, then so be it.

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