Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister has laid out some of the likely major milestones to be included in the emerging new draft Scottish Energy Strategy.
This will be announced by the SNP-led government (if it wins re-election in the May polls) in Autumn 2016.
To Scottish Parliament chamber almost bereft of MSPs, Ewing laid out the key organising principles of the new Scottish Energy Strategy;
- To manage the ongoing change to an increasingly low-carbon electricity generating and power-consuming economy, and
- To ensure security and affordability of supply
He 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 to the first Scotland Trade Association Scotland conference, he also said that there is likely to be a place for solar energy in the new Scottish Energy Strategy.
He also urged Holyrood MPs of all parties – who were mostly absent from the Scottish parliament – 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, and
- The forthcoming Hywind floating offshore wind turbine farm, which will be launched off the Grampian cost by Norway’s Statoil by 2018.
In response to Opposition questions and/or suggestions that ‘Fergus should get off the fracking fence,’ the Minister replied that right course for the Scot-Govt to take is to continue to gather independent, robust scientific data on healthy and safety aspects of onshore shale gas exploration during the present moratorium.