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Italy it will blow of the world financial system. Thank you. --
blow up the world financial system. Tonight on Newsnight Scotland one
of the Scottish Government's key policies has come under attack for
the second time in as many days. After Citigroup raised concerns
about renewable energy yesterday, today it is the turn of engineers
to question whether Government targets can be met.
And in a week of mud-slinging and name-calling, we ask why Scottish
politics seems to have turned nastier than usual.
An oil industry consultant in Aberdeen has said that the North
Sea could still be worth hundreds of billions of pounds if the
Government gets its act together. That will presumably have cheered
up the Government in a week that has seen two other reports
undermining their strategy for renewable energy. Opposition
parties have been quick to stress the problems.
The SNP won the election on a promise of a target that by the
year 2020, Scotland would be producing enough renewable
electricity to match what it consumes. Today the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers has published its major concerns over the
renewables target. It says the reliance on wind-power would for
Scotland reimport energy from England and Northern Ireland went
the wind is not blowing. -- When the wind is not blowing. This would
cost millions of pounds, pushing up bills and forcing people into fuel
poverty. They also claimed the policy is not based on any
published strategy or engineering analysis of what is physically
needed to meet the 2020 target. The report is the second attack this
week on one of the SNP Government's flagship policies. Analysis from
city group warned companies to exercise extreme caution before
investing in renewables in Scotland well uncertainty remains over
independence. The consumer would have to pay enormous subsidies for
renewables which are spread across the rest of the UK at the moment.
City group says that a hike will amount to �800 per year. The SNP
have rejected both reports and Iain Gray has accused the Government of
misleading the country. It is clear that the uncertainty created by a
referendum will damage the economy of this country. Firstly, the
report ignores the reality. The reality is that investment is
happening now. In the context of a live independence debate. And the
second false assumption, that somehow after independence the rest
of the UK will no longer buy its Scottish energy is absolute
nonsense. The future may not be green but everyone is determined to
make political capital out of issues which might strictly
speaking appear to be technical. Earlier I spoke to Professor Stuart
Cameron, Vice President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
And in Aberdeen, the Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. I began by
asking the professor why he thought the Government targets were not
plausible. Our concern is how to achieve it in that time frame. We
have been looking at it. You say that there has been extensive
building on wind farms and so on. They have been in locations where
there are relatively small turbines. They are now at the stage when
there are larger wind turbines, going offshore, going into
technology which is that the development stage just now, several
years before it can be implemented. To increase it fivefold, from the
current investment, is a very difficult target to achieve, both
in terms of the engineering requirements and in terms of
manufacture, infrastructure, and the National Grid. I think that is
recognised. We have looked at the route map that has been produced
for renewables. That is a top-level document. What we are saying is
that they need to go to the next level, it to say, look, let's do
some proper engineering, some rigour, to look at these actual
achievements. Then we can look at where we are going to. The gist of
that is that your targets are more hope than expectation. Our targets
are ambitious, yes, but we believe they are achievable. So do a great
number of experts, including engineers such as Professor Jim
McDonald, he chairs the Energy Advisory Board with the first
minister. And other practitioners as well. We can talk names, but a
lot of Stuart Cameron's members are companies and people that build
this stuff. You can talk names but the substance of the issue is that
they are saying that you have not produced any detailed engineering
plans to show how you are going to achieve these goals. May I say
where we stand at the moment, Gordon? Where we stand at the
moment is that one third of our capacity is renewables. If you
consider those renewable applications, constructed or
consented, that takes us to 60%. And if you consider those that are
planned, in the pipeline, that takes us up to 17 gigawatts,
roughly three times more energy than is consumed in Scotland. I
know we have got a long way to go and we work with and we want to
work with technical experts such as Professor Cameron. I would be very
happy if the Institute wish to meet with us to engage with them on this.
But we believe that we have a deliverable plan already. OK...
are intent on succeeding. What is wrong with that, in your view?
guarantee that we support that and our institution would be more than
happy to do so. Do you dispute the figures that he has just outlined?
That something like 80% is already in the bag? It is in the pipeline.
What has been achieved today has been relatively easy to achieve.
The latter part, in terms of going offshore with larger turbines, the
whole maintenance issues, to a certain extent it is unproven in a
harsh environment. Yes, we agree with the initial figures, where we
have got to today. I would call it the Low Hanging fruit. The wind
farms have been located in easier places. You are also making a
stronger point. Far from Scotland being self-sufficient in terms of
renewables, actually over the next 10 years or so it will become a net
importer of power of electricity from England. That is because you
need a base load. We all recognise and accept that there are days when
the winds do not blow. Therefore the availability for a wind farm is
somewhere between 0% and 100%. In reality it is probably about 25-30%.
That is the experience of Germany and Denmark. Hang on. Being a net
importer is a long way from what you want to see. We are an exporter
and we will continue to export. Our target is not that we produce all
of the electricity in Scotland. All of electricity generated should be
generated from renewable sources. Our target is that the electricity
that we can sue in Scotland should be produced from renewable sources.
-- that we consume. We want to produce twice as much as that.
Professor Cameron is absolutely correct in saying that we will
continue to need conventional power sources. We are supportive of that.
I engage regularly, as they did today, with the gas network. I
spoke at a hydropower conference today. �100 million of investment
is being held up because of delays by Westminster. So there is a
balance. You cannot both be right. Yes, we are in net exporter
currently. But between now and 2020, one of the power stations will be
decommissioned. So we will be left with a gas-fired plant, hopefully,
or whatever, and the one at Peterhead. If you take them out of
the equation, what we are exporting right now is primarily the
electricity it from the Totnes power station. If we are only left
with that gas-fired plant and the one at Peterhead, and if you go
from zero to 100% for renewables, the converse of that is that when
you have no wind blowing and it is 0%, you need 100% base load from a
conventional plant, or nuclear. We achieve that just now. By 2020
there needs to be another plant or a nuclear plant, either of which
would take five for seven years to come into fruition. Can I answer
that? Briefly because I want to move on. We accept that there must
be a base load. We reckon that looking to 2020, we would need four
gigawatts. I am on record as saying that the case for existing power
stations is strong and we will need it to keep the lights on. I have
also said that if the nuclear power stations, in particular the one you
are alluding to, which may have a life until 2030, providing the case
is made on economic grounds, we will not stand in the way. There
does need to be a variety because wind power Mr is intermittent.
have just said a word that we do not hear on this programme!
hear something new every day. As I do when I engage with people like
Professor Cameron. We are working with everyone in the industry in a
positive way to achieve our targets. As we believe, as many other
experts in the industry believe, they are ambitious but achievable.
I just want to move on briefly and get your response to the other
stuff that has happened this week. That is the report by city group.
In terms of price, the entire renewable energy in Britain depends
on the renewable obligation certificates effectively subsidised
by the consumer. If you have an independent Scotland it ceases to
be viable. The cost, spread across UK consumers, would be financed by
Scottish consumers and state aid. We believe that that is flawed,
because it fails to recognise the facts. The facts are that over the
last 12 months we have seen investment of �750 million in
renewable projects. And we have got... I understand that. There
point was that if Scotland became independent they would not be
guaranteed to be part of the national grid of Britain. There
point was that uncertainty is created by the fact that we are
proposing to have a referendum. If that was correct, then so is
everybody has known in Scotland about our plans for a referendum
for the last five years, why on earth would there have been �750
million of investment in renewable energy in this country? They can't
have it both ways. It is not just the past investment. It is the
future investment. Up to �46 billion of investment in renewable
projects is in the pipeline, including 10 gigawatts of offshore
wind which is 1.5 times the energy consumed in Scotland. Scotland is a
great place to invest. Some people disagree but billions of pounds of
investors' agree. Briefly, is it a concern to you and your members at
the prospect of independence could cause uncertainty? We look purely
from one engineering focal point in terms of saying what engineering
capability is required. Whether there is an independent Scotland or
not, the same technical issues remain. Thank you very much.
This week we have had name-calling, misquotes, insults, public
ecologies and even a surreal cartoon of Alex Salmond as an
Arabian camel herd of. -- public apologies. Some of this would not
be out of place in the playground. What has been going on?
This is the ritual Dictionary from 1755. Febrile. From spirits
employee did in blood and turgid and affected by the fermentation. I
think he is getting over-excited. Before the members were workshy and
paid for nothing, the evidence points to the opposite. In recent
times they have not stopped and never been so busy not to say
febrile and revealing their worst side. Their behaviour has been
closer to the playground than parliamentary chamber. The economy
is in the red and the pension is disappearing, if not your job. AC
in army is a waiting in the Eurozone and something else. You
are heading for an independence referendum. What are the MPs and
MSPs up to? We had an apology for an insulting Liberal Democrat Cup
team. Apologies for a misleading view about an academic. Eight
Labour MP warned a woman that she would be in trouble and a
researcher apologised for going over the top in an e-mail claiming
misogyny. Who could forget the speech here? You will be attacked.
You will be spared. You will be like about and you will be
threatened. Sneer. To spread an oily, greasy or white substance
oboe something to sell it by all soil a reputation. But why is this
going on? Is it just displacement activity? Hartley 8 loss.
referendum campaign has kicked off and people are getting very nervous
about it. The opposition are not going for the tactic of jumping on
the second questioned. Independence is not going up in the polls the
way they would like and the opposition are getting nervous. The
referendum campaign has kicked off. People are on the doorstep and the
opposition party did not have leaders and understand what they
are saying. Plenty of tension at the moment. Is it just the heat is
being turned up and they do not know how to respond? There are high
stakes. Stick your head under the covers and it will all passed to
the next phase of the campaign. They will stop saying, he is not
being very nice and I do not like have. We will get to the substance
but we are in that fake area. People are up tight and nervous.
They have got this visceral hatred between Labour and the SNP. Now and
again with events, it does bubble to the surface and it is an ugly
stain in politics and it puts the public offer. -- off. The last
thing we need is for leaders to become upset, confused, bewildered,
I'm joined now by the political analyst, Gerry Hassan. Why is
everything nasty in your view? we take Labour and the SNP into
part of Scottish culture, we have had a bad history. Hatred ever
since 1967. People look at that and they say that it is ingrained.
There is a vociferous hatred. A even visceral hatred?! We have to
look at the wider context. We do not do this very well in like that.
We deal with people different from ourselves. Is it a narrow political
thing? We have got that you among Labour people that the nationalists
are not a political party in the ordinary sense. They want to break
up Britain. You do not deal with them like the Tories. In a way that
is a specific thing about Scottish politics and not a broader thing
about culture. I think it is about how we categorise and label people.
It goes across society and culture and football. But we have got
something specific in the relationship. My argument would be
whatever they do, the Labour hatred goes deeper from top to bottom.
They were the dominant party for years and they were threatened.
This seems illegitimate to them. The first rule of conflict is
understand and empathise the enemy. Do not apologise but they have not
got t first base. What would count as getting to first base? They are
not that different from Labour. The conventional argument is that they
are not that different. But it is much deeper. The Labour view of the
SNP and the wider cultural points are complicated. We have got hatred
on bedside, like Celtic and Labour -- Rangers. We have got a lot of
sinners and not many saints. Is it a lack of balance? We talk about
top-to-bottom hatred. We have got the support of people loving
conspiracy theories. But does the SNP leadership not have the same
attitude towards Labour has Labour do to them? I think that is right
on evidence. If we look at Ian Gray and Ian Davidson. The concept of
separation does not help anybody. Who is in favour? Many nationalists.
Alex Neil or Kenny MacAskill were the last politicians. They are
either brilliant actors or it is genuine. We have got hatred in part
of the movement. Look at institutions like the BBC and the
press. It is not very helpful. want to tell me the much broader
cultural issue and I will not deny you the opportunity. I think we
have got something deep about difference and having lots of
problems with that. We can see that in football, gender and sexuality
and lots of things where people stand out and have a problem.
do you mean people that stand out? To people operate differently? What
about that Japanese phrase about the male getting hammered down? I
did not think we have at here. -- the nail. The politics we are
talking about... We are questioning that. We genuinely tend to get
criticism. We are coming to terms with things like gender and
sexuality. Issues that other sides deal with it more easily.
Sectarianism as well. We have got a very fraught debate and we are not
getting to the issues. But Scotland is a civil society might England.
It is not. -- like England. We have got a much more drink orientated
culture. We have got to deal with these issues and we want to tell
each other comforting stories about ourselves. But with all that venom,
it disguises the fundamentals. will have to leave if there. We
will look at the front pages and will look at the front pages and
start with the Scotsman... This is about British funding for the
Eyemouth which could go to the you resent. -- the International
Monetary Fund. -- the Eurozone. Chaos in the Guardian. The