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SNP’s renewable targets criticised

SNP’s  renewable targets criticised
AN ENGINEERING industry body has criticised the Scottish Government's "over-ambitious" renewable energy target and warned it would lead to rising fuel bills.

AN ENGINEERING industry body has criticised the Scottish Government’s “over-ambitious” renewable energy target and warned it would lead to rising fuel bills.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers said plans to generate 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 may increase fuel poverty and force the country to buy more energy than it sells.

The report, published yesterday, also said that abandoning nuclear energy would force Scotland to import power from non-renewable sources in England and Northern Ireland, reducing emissions savings.

It comes after one of the world’s biggest banks warned its clients about the dangers of investing in renewable energy projects in Scotland.

Citigroup told investors to exercise “extreme caution” because of uncertainty over Scotland’s future in the UK and said the SNP’s renewables targets and ambition for independence were incompatible.

The IME said yesterday that rising oil and gas prices had already bumped up fuel bills, and warned the billions of pounds required to meet Scotland’s renewables target so quickly would exacerbate the price rise and push more people into fuel poverty.

Director of engineering Colin Brown said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely right to exploit the country’s huge potential for renewable energy, but we have serious concerns that the overambitious 2020 target will push up prices and, combined with the government’s distaste for nuclear power, turn Scotland from a net exporter to a net importer of energy

“It is doubtful whether these targets are achievable at all.”

Speaking at first minister’s questions at the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Labour leader Iain Gray claimed the IME and Citigroup reports proved the Scottish Government has “not got a clue” about its key policy on renewable energy.

He said: “Investors say the referendum makes it unsupportable, and separation makes it unaffordable but the people who actually build the technology on the ground say it is technically undeliverable.”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who was standing in for Alex Salmond during his visit to the Middle East, hit back and highlighted the “massive renewables investment currently under way” from companies such as electronics firm Mitsubishi, Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa and Korean firm Doosan Power Systems.

Tory leader Annabel Goldie pressed Ms Sturgeon on Citigroup’s report and said it revealed energy bills would go up by £900 in an independent Scotland, but the deputy first minister replied: “I disagree with all of the conclusions in the Citigroup report.

“The fact of the matter is that renewables is a success story in Scotland. It is something we are doing incredibly well and have got the potential to do even better.”

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