NICOLA STURGEON admitted the Scottish National Party (SNP) has “not done well enough” as one of their flagship projects is still grounded after four years.
The First Minister committed to setting up a publicly-owned not-for-profit power company at the 2017 SNP conference. She said that “energy would be bought wholesale or generated here in Scotland, renewable, of course, and sold to customers as close to cost price as possible”. But four years later, and after reportedly spending more than £400,000 on mapping out the scheme’s feasibility, Ms Sturgeon is said to be no closer to fulfilling the promise.
Speaking earlier this month, she boasted that “Scotland is a world leader in renewable energy”, but warned not enough progress has been made in harnessing the economic potential of the industry.
She added: “We need to do much more in terms of generating energy and ensuring that we properly seize the economic benefits that come from that.
“Candidly speaking, we have not done well enough in that area.
“There is a lot of work to be done here, and we are determined to get on with it as we lead up to the 26th United Nations climate change conference of the parties – COP26 – and then move beyond that.
“I very much look forward to working with the Greens – and, indeed, with others across the chamber – to ensure that Scotland continues to lead the world in renewable energy and in the wider transition to net zero.”
Renewable energy formed a key part of the bid for Scottish independence in 2014 as Scotland boasts one of the most favourable conditions in Europe for harvesting wind energy.
Ms Sturgeon has vowed to hold another independence referendum by the end of the current Holyrood parliament.
She says there is a mandate for a fresh vote on the issue after Scots elected a majority of pro-independence MSPs in May’s Scottish Parliament elections.
The 50-year-old has vowed to hold a vote as soon as Scotland has recovered from the pandemic, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also refused to rule out a future vote on the issue, merely saying now is “not the time” for a fresh vote
Pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson to set out his plan to combat the support of the separatist movement north of the border.
It comes after the SNP won 64 seats in Holyrood last month, one short of an overall majority.
With seven Scottish Green Party candidates being elected, a majority of MSPs in the parliament are in favour of independence.
Ms Sturgeon has previously warned Mr Johnson against “picking a fight with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people” over a second independence referendum.
She said another vote “is the will of the country” and reaffirmed that it is a “matter of when not if”.
She told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “I have just won a landslide election and another five-year term as First Minister.
“I have got the energy, the appetite, to get on with the job.