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Scotland's renewable pledge let down by offshore oil drilling

Dearbhla Crosse

4th October, 2010

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond faces criticism over his decision to allow offshore oil drilling at the same time as pledging Scotland could achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025

Salmond has been accused of giving oil companies 'free reign' of Scottish waters after making an ambitious 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 target for Scotland.

Speaking at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference, Salmond actually went further and suggested the country could become a 'massive exporter of clean, green energy', with the potential to generate seven times its current domestic demand for electricity by 2050 through offshore wind and tidal power.

However, green campaigners have criticised him for continuing to support the expansion of deepwater offshore oil drilling.

‘Like his UK counterparts, he apparently sees no contradiction between the proposals for deepwater drilling off Shetland and his own environmental rhetoric,’ Green MSP Patrick Harvie said.

‘This country cannot afford the economic consequences of a spill, but even aside from that risk there's no justification for chasing new oil reserves while pushing the idea of a 100 per cent renewable Scotland.’

'Alex Salmond's priorities are clear. His talk about renewables is just that - mere talk. His real view is that oil companies must have free rein, and no questions must be asked. It's an attitude straight from the 1970s, not one fit for the 21st century. Scotland's future simply isn't safe in the hands of the oil-addicted SNP, nor the equally ill-advised coalition in London,' said Harvie.



Salmond admitted that even if Scotland meets its entire domestic energy needs from renewable sources by 2025 it will still retain its coal power plants. Current estimates suggest if the target is met, Scotland would only actually be producing 63 per cent renewable energy by 2025 with non-renewable sources supplying surplus energy to the rest of the UK.

The Scottish Green's also urged Salmond not to neglect other sectors in making Scotland a truly 'low carbon economy' and said that all aspects of the economy from transport to housing must be sustainable.

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