Nicola Sturgeon side-lined her own energy experts while drawing up plans to keep Scotland’s lights on, The Courier can reveal. Gordon Wilson, a former SNP leader, has accused the First Minister of presiding over a “dangerous vacuum” and failing to protect the country’s electricity supply. The ex-Dundee MP heavily criticised the government’s lack of consultation with its Scottish Energy Advisory Body in the 10 months before unveiling its energy blueprint. The SEAB, which is made up of senior figures from industry, academia, the civil service and consumer groups, met only once last year – in March. The draft energy strategy was published at the end of January this year. Set up by Alex Salmond’s administration in 2009, the SEAB, which is now co-chaired by Ms Sturgeon, is supposed to meet “at least twice annually”, according to the Scottish Government’s website. Mr Wilson, who is a director of the Options for Scotland, said “words fail me” over the Scottish Government’s approach to the SEAB. “Why did it prepare an energy strategy without taking advice from its own body? “There is a dangerous vacuum here and no sign that the Government is concerned about security of power supply in Scotland. This should be its first priority.” Mr Wilson, who was succeeded as SNP leader by Mr Salmond in 1990, said there is “growing concern” over the “failure of the Edinburgh Government to develop a policy to safeguard Scotland’s electricity self-sufficiency”. He said Scotland was a big exporter of electricity until Westminster subsidies for the south and midlands in England led to the early closure of Longannet and Cockenzie power stations. A fresh threat is the uncertain future of the Peterhead gas-fired plant, Mr Wilson added, as well as the lack of progress on the replacement gas generator at Cockenzie “without a squawk of protest” from the Scottish Government.
Dundee Courier 6th March 2017 read more »