Energy and Fuel Poverty

Electricity accounts for only 20% of our energy demand, with transport and heating making up the remaining 80%. The average organisation can save 20% of its energy bill by installing cost effective energy efficient technology.

British Energy (the nuclear power company that owns two out of Scotland’s three nuclear power stations) was recently bailed out of its latest crisis by a £650-million loan from the UK Government. This money could have been used to build enough on-shore wind turbines to supply 15% of the UK energy demand

Our dependence on burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) to provide energy pollutes our environment, contributes to climate change and wastes valuable raw materials. The continued dependence on nuclear power saves little in emissions, costs the nation millions every year in subsidies and leaves future generations with a legacy of nuclear waste. Only about 2% of Scotland’s total energy use comes from clean, almost limitless, renewable sources such as wind, solar, wave, hydro and biofuels – whereas Scotland actually has the potential to supply 75% of the UK’s electricity demand from renewable energy. The Scottish Green Party believes we can only balance energy production with energy use if we tackle the ever-increasing demand for energy by achieving the 20 – 50% potential energy savings in our homes, work places and transport systems. That is why energy efficiency is a core tenet of our energy policy.

Greens believe that Scotland has the capacity to become a world-leader in renewable energy provision. For the first time in our history, we have the opportunity to use our relationship with the elements to our advantage. Greens also believe that it would be a tragedy if this opportunity were to be used only by the few for their personal profit. We would ensure that the greatest possible benefits are passed on to the communities that host renewable energy generation schemes, and ensure that these developments are accountable, transparent and democratically managed.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We support the recent introduction of UK Climate Change reduction targets of 60% by 2050. We view this as the minimum requirement and want to see distinct targets for Scotland and an intermediate target of 20% by 2010. These will include individual targets for domestic, commercial, transport and agricultural sector and will be met partly through tough new targets for energy efficiency of 20% by 2010 and an additional 20% by 2020.

  • We will establish a Sustainable Energy Agency (SEA) to co-ordinate the different sectors of Government involved in Scottish energy issues, such as planning, industry, housing and transport. The SEA will evaluate the opportunities for reducing polluting emissions across domestic, industrial and commercial sectors. We will work to ensure that improvements are made to the energy infrastructure to enable more communities to capture energy from their local environment, and we will stimulate research and development into all forms of renewable energy production.

  • We will ensure that ambitious renewable energy production targets are set for Scotland based on the findings of the SEA. These targets will assume that Scotland will continue to export excess electricity to the rest of the UK and will include heating and transport. We will work to ensure the development of, and support for, renewable energy schemes. These will include offshore wind farms among other renewable schemes as well as community-owned schemes.

  • We are fully committed to ensuring that no further nuclear energy schemes are built and that current nuclear power stations are phased out within the shortest practicable timescale. We will call for an end to the use of Scottish ports by ships carrying nuclear waste for reconditioning, and to single-hulled oil tankers. We will end the use of domestic waste in waste-to-energy schemes as a means of providing heat and power. We will call for a moratorium on all new opencast coal developments and on the further expansion of existing developments.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896
e-mail: info@scottishgreens.org.uk