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Tuesday 22nd May 2012 | 13:57
SNP press release
SNP COMMENT ON DRAFT ENERGY BILL
Commenting on the publication of the Draft Energy Bill today (Tuesday) Mike Weir MP, SNP spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change - while welcoming the strengthening of market support for renewable electricity as well as carbon capture and storage - expressed concern at the UK Government's continued obsession with new nuclear power stations.
Mr Weir said:
"DECC quite rightly state that the energy sector requires to be largely decarbonised by the 2030s to ensure that the UK meets its climate change targets, but it is not clear that the measures in this bill will achieve that aim.
"It is abundantly clear that the UK government see gas as the major provider of energy in the short and medium term. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that it gives off less greenhouse gases than coal it still requires to be decarbonised.
"If the UK government are serious about an Emissions Performance Standard it is essential that the government stops beating about the bush and gets behind gas CCS - as is being demonstrated at Peterhead. If we are going to have a new generation of gas plants we need to ensure that strong action is taken to ensure that emissions are captured and stored. Successive UK government's have talked about it and launched competitions but no plant is yet operating. This must be a priority.
"Clearly, however, the UK Government are sticking with their obsession with new nuclear, and the fiction that there will be no public subsidy.
"The proposed Contracts for Difference are plainly a subsidy for nuclear, despite the fact that the industry has swallowed billions of pounds of public money over many years. If the promoters of new nuclear are so sure it is viable then they would not need such a mechanism, which should be aimed solely at new and emerging renewable technologies.
"Most of the companies who were at the forefront of new nuclear have now pulled out, with RWE announcing considerable investment in renewables instead. EDF are now the only company standing who still propose new nuclear build and it appears even they are now seeking to extend the life of existing stations rather than constructing new ones.
"New nuclear has no place in future energy policy. The UK government should concentrate on investment in new renewable technologies for a cleaner, greener energy future.
"One thing that is completely missing from the bill is any mention of the continuing problem of the transmission charging regime which punishes new renewables in the north of Scotland. There have been conflicting signals from Ofgems Operation Transmit . The UK government need to grasp this nettle and ensure the regime helps rather than hinders the development of new renewable energy."