The Daily Telegraph – November 13, 2010
‘Bonkers’ green energy risks power shortages
Scotland is in “serious danger” of suffering power shortages over the next decade thanks to Alex Salmond’s “bonkers” green energy policies, the head of one of the country’s largest generators has warned.
By Simon Johnson
Rupert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko, said Scotland’s lights will be “perilously close” to going out because a huge proportion of existing coal, oil and nuclear power stations are due to shut down over the next eight years. He accused politicians of “holding hands and singing Kumbaya to the great green God” but warned the reality is it will be many decades before renewable energy can plug the gap left by traditional sources of power. Unless Mr Salmond ends his ‘wishful thinking’ and draws up alternative plans, Mr Soames warned Scotland will be in “deep trouble” by 2018.
But SNP ministers dismissed his claims last night and argued their target of generating 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 was realistic, despite the cost and unproven nature of the technology involved.
Mr Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill and brother of the Tory politician Nicholas Soames, was speaking at business conference at the Scottish Parliament.
Although his comments addressed an impending energy crisis across the UK, he suggested the problem is more acute in Scotland. The SNP has refused to allow the construction of new nuclear power stations north of the Border. “How is Scotland going to react to the fact the national grid, on which we all depend, will lose 30 per cent of its generating capacity by 2013?” he asked delegates. “We may wish the replacement to be wind, we may wish the replacement to be tidal but wishing isn’t going to make it happen and I think you have responsibly to have a Plan B. We have to move on from the days of holding hands and singing Kumbaya to the great green God or believing that Scotland is going to be the centre of the universe for renewables.” The largest offshore wind farms are actually being built off the east coast of England, he said, which is closer to the major centres of energy demand.
Mr Salmond’s policies fail to recognise “the cold realities” of financing and engineering expensive new forms of green technology, Mr Soames continued. He warned it will require Scottish politicians to display considerable leadership to “avert a very real energy crisis that will hit us in less than ten years time.”