It is vital that we ensure a sustainable, safe, and secure energy network but I am profoundly concerned about the UK Government’s plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The disastrous Hinkley Point C project exemplifies the failure of the UK Government’s energy strategy and lack of a long-term plan that could cost billions to taxpayers.
The UK Government’s obsession with nuclear energy will do nothing to lower energy bills and will only burden future generations with great financial and environmental risk. Even the board of EDF, the French energy company involved in the project, have been re-evaluating their involvement in the project in recent months.
That the UK Government have seemed happy to write a blank cheque for nuclear power at a time when they have made deep cuts to the renewable energy sector beggars belief. In particular, the closure of the carbon capture and storage scheme risks damaging our place as a world-leader in renewable technology.
In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government is developing an ambitious and long term Scottish Energy Strategy which aims to make electricity cleaner, more affordable and more secure for all consumers. The strategy will take a “whole system view” and encompass demand reduction, energy efficiency, a balanced energy generation mix, a role for storage, and the requirement for a low carbon transition in transport and heat use. It is this approach that has seen Scotland achieve a 38.4% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and been praised by the UN as taking an exemplary approach to tackling climate change.
The UK Government were due to sign the deal to build this new power station on Friday 29th July 2016, but it has been announced that the final decision will now be delayed until the autumn of the year to allow a review of the project to be undertaken by the department of for business, energy and industrial strategy.
Pressure from the SNP has no doubt contributed to forcing this review and my SNP colleagues and I will continue to robustly pursue the UK Government on the risks of the Hinkley Point C project.