Monday, 9 January 2017

How Scotland could double the amount of low carbon electricity being generated for the same amount of consumer spending

A new report written by me has just been published by the Scottish Green Party on how spending on renewable energy rather than nuclear power will result in around twice as much low carbon electricity being generated . It explains how the Scottish Government could be given new powers to fund renewable energy out of the monies that Scottish consumers would otherwise have to pay for new nuclear power.


See Scottish Green Party press release

Executive Summary:

This report argues that the costs of delivering the UK s low carbon programme could be reduced substantially if the Scottish Government were given powers to fund its own renewable energy programme. This could be done by giving the Scottish Government control to spend money that would otherwise be added to Scottish electricity consumer bills to fund the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant (and any other new nuclear plant). UK electricity consumers will each have to spend around £16 a year extra for 35 years to pay for HPC. If Scottish consumer s money was spent on supporting renewable energy rather than paying for their share of Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant then, even on conservative calculations, nearly double the amount of electricity would be generated from wind power as from Hinkley C. The costs of onshore windfarms and also offshore windfarms even on current prices need much less support from consumer surcharges to generate an equivalent amount of electricity compared to HPC. Wind power costs are falling rapidly, with some especially low prices being reported in Denmark and The Netherlands. Under such a programme organised by the Scottish Government the cheapest onshore windfarms could start generating in 2020 and offshore windfarms organised under a new, Danish-style framework, could be online in 2026. The Scottish Government s own preference for renewable energy over nuclear power lends support to the suggestion that the Scottish Government should be able to use Scottish consumers money to pay for new renewable energy rather than new nuclear power. Moreover the best value for money for Scottish consumers in terms of generating non-fossil fuels is likely to come from the Scottish Government having powers to fund its own renewable energy programme from Scottish consumer bills. This is because the Scottish Government will be able to decide on what contract length to offer wind developers, for example offering to pay guaranteed prices for 20 years rather than 15 years as done by the Westminster Government now with renewable energy. Also, the Scottish Government will be able to organise a much more effective offshore windfarm programme than is being done by the Westminster Government. The Westminster Government s methods are increasing the costs of offshore wind by leaving too much uncertainty to be dealt with by developers. The Scottish Government could organise a much cheaper offshore wind programme on the lines done by the Danish Energy Agency. This is likely to lead to lower costs and less confrontation in the courts over planning issues than is the case with the current offshore windfarm programme.


  1. Nice try! But dont (as it stands now) all UK consumers benefit from low cost wind, via redced CfD charges. Isn't what you are saying that only the Scots should- and should also stop paying for HPC. As we all should!

  2. The point is that Scotland has a policy against new nuclear investment preferring the money to spent on renewables. Given Scotland's semi autonomous position they could exercise this policy if they had the powers. Of course I wish this policy also to be adopted on a UK wide basis.

  3. And there is the matter of National Grid. It seems some serious investment is contemplated in the Lake District to cope with new nuclear. This presumably would not help (could detract from?) investment to connect Scottish windpower. It would be nice if you could sort out the issues involved UK and wider basis for a non-nuclear Scotland.

    There is the small matter of future fuel. Reminds me of the Claverton Group discussion paper published in Renew in 2008 - thanks Dave E! We did not have too many global calculations to go on back then. Ugo Bardi has reminded us of later calculations and has taken the opportunity to report on Michael Dittmar's 'model' for uranium extraction.