In a little-reported Opposition debate on energy in the Westminster parliament (moved by the SNP and Labour), the SNP yesterday highlighted the potential of Scotland’s tidal energy industry as a potential ‘world leader’
Callum McCaig, MP (SNP, Aberdeen South) – leader of the SNP Westminster Group on Energy – said: “To take things forward we need a proper decarbonisation plan.”
For electricity in particular – he touched on island connections, which we need – a tremendous resource is waiting to be unlocked. He said:
“Likewise, there is a tremendous potential resource in wave and tidal energy, of which Wales’ tidal lagoon in Swansea bay is another example.
“These big programmes may be costly in the first instance, but we missed the boat with onshore wind in terms of owning and developing the technology, which is where the real money is. With offshore wind, we are part of the way towards making sure we have some of that, although the main basis of the technology is outwith these islands.
“With tidal energy in particular, we have the chance to be the world leader. In the past fortnight, fantastic announcements on tidal energy programmes have been made in the north of Scotland by Nova and Atlantis.
“Such announcements need to be the first of a kind, not one of a kind, but that requires continued access to the market. If I were to make plea above all else to the new ministerial team it would be for them to support and commit to 100 MW of tidal energy, at a CfD of £305.
“That will be fundamental to delivering the future of tidal energy.
“Tidal energy has huge benefits. It is clearly far more predictable than other forms of renewables. It ticks an awful lot of boxes. It may be costly in its initial phases, but it is a new technology. Let us look to the future and not see at as a cost.
“This is a form of investment. If we get the technology right and become the world leader in tidal energy – and potentially in the wave energy to come—such a deployment will provide us with a reliable renewable source of energy, and it will also open up a market.
“There is a lot of sea and there are a lot of tides in the world. There is astronomical potential for the deployment of tidal technology, so let us not kill it before it has got off the ground. Let us have a pathway and allow it to develop. Let us allow it to bring down its cost, and then allow it to go global.”
Meanwhile, fellow SNP MP Angus MacNeil, chairman of the Westminster Energy committee, said:
“I hope there will be some revision of locational charging so that for wind resources – they are particularly strong in constituencies in the Scottish islands – it will cost less to bring energy to the market.
“In continental Europe it costs less to bring it to the south of England. There is a penalty to produce energy in the UK that is not faced by our European competitors.”