The Scottish Government should support new nuclear power stations and give
the go-ahead to unconventional (shale) gas to meet the challenges ensuring
stability and security of baseload electricity supply.
In his Scottish energy policy paper which truly lives up to the name of its
sponsor – Reform Scotland – Stuart Paton, former Chief Executive of Dana
Petroleum – now an independent Scottish energy advisor – also calls for
the Scot-Govt to lift its bans on nuclear Scottish nuclear and shale gas
And while the challenge of climate change does require a de-carbonisation
of energy, Scotland must develop its own energy policy ‘beyond a fixation
on wind power and point scoring with Westminster’.
His call comes as the first Dragon-class tanker full of US shale gas –
being shipped to its Grangemouth refinery by petro-chems conglomerate INEOS
– is due to arrive in Scotland on September 27.
This will provide a vital feedstock to keep the Grangemouth refinery in
operation – domestic supplies from the North Sea are dwindling.
INEOS designed and built the new Dragon-class super-tankers in China
specifically for this purpose after the Scottish Government announced a
‘temporary’ ban on all shale gas exploration in 2015.
Jim Ratcliffe, Executive Chairman of INEOS, commented: “Were it not for the
fact that we have invested in bringing shale gas across from America,
Grangemouth would be closed because there isn’t enough gas in the North Sea
to continue to operate the Grangemouth petrochemical site.
“So, whether Scottish politicians like it or not, the shale gas
which has come from the US rather than the UK has saved 10,000 jobs in the
“It just seems rational to me that if it is successful it would clearly
generate lots of income and lots of investment in Scotland, and those
things have got to be two of the things you have to achieve independence.”
He highlights a number of inconsistencies in the government’s Scottish
energy policy and concludes that the wind farm gold-rush will simply
result in Scotland importing power from England when the wind does not
blow. Paton said:
“For example, the Scottish Government has a commitment to zero emissions
from electricity generation by 2020, yet an outright rejection of nuclear
power and continued support for a coal power station at Longannet.
“The government shows unbridled support for the offshore oil and gas
industry (but not onshore unconventionals) < shale gas> – despite this
being counter to its green credentials on electricity generation.
“They have displayed a fervent evangelism for the beauty of the Scottish
countryside, yet wholesale support for industrial scale windfarms which are
having a dramatic effect on the landscape.
“They are an avowedly social democratic government which says it wants to
reduce inequality but, through its commitment to zero emissions, adds a
burden to all household fuel bills and provides significant income to
wealthy landowners through subsidies.
“And, as the UK Government is backtracking on a raft of green energy
supportive policies, what role should the Scottish Government take?”
Ahead of the Scot-Govt’s forthcoming Scottish Energy Strategy, Paton says
the review has to take a holistic view, particularly in relation to the
impact of climate change. He also recommends the Scottish Government step
in to solve the current market-failure to develop the carbon capture and