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 Dr Richard Dixon: Scottish and UK governments are on a collision course over nuclear energy and oil.

The UK Government’s new energy strategy
makes no sense at all and puts Westminster on collision course with
Holyrood. In early March, Boris Johnson said he would produce, as a matter
of urgency, a plan to respond to the twin challenges of war in Ukraine and
the cost-of-living crisis.

Four weeks later, we finally have the British
Energy Security Strategy and it does pretty much the opposite of what’s
needed. Supposedly this is because the PM and Chancellor could not agree on
key measures. The result is a strategy that convinces no-one. Even the
right-wing press have roundly lambasted it.

The first thing you are taught
in any class about energy is that using less is much better than producing
it differently. Yet, there is nothing at all in the strategy on the
quickest, cheapest and most obvious way to save energy and reduce bills –
improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes.

The last thing youwould do if you want to change our energy system quickly and at an
affordable cost is invest in new nuclear reactors, yet that is exactly what
the government plans to do, egged on by Labour’s new enthusiasm.

The cover of the strategy shows the construction site at Hinkley Point C,
originally proposed in the mid-1980s, subject of a two-and-a-half year
public inquiry and with construction now running ten years late and many
times over budget. The world’s most expensive power plant is perhaps not
the cleverest example to use.

The plan suggests eight new nuclear reactors.
In 2010, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government planned to build
eight new reactors in the next decade … 12 years later the two reactors
at Hinkley are the only ones actually under construction and they might
possibly producing electricity in 2027 with a price tag of £23 billion.

There will be a new round of applications for oil and gas production in the
autumn, given a green gloss by the complete con that is the Climate
Compatibility Checklist. The Cambo oilfield might be back on the table. The
government says it is reviewing the science on fracking, and Ineos has
already kindly offered to start drilling.

The Scottish Government is due to
publish a set of energy scenarios before the summer and a draft Energy
Strategy in the autumn. There will be plenty of energy efficiency and
renewables but no new nuclear and no fracking. Apart from offshore wind,
the UK and Scottish plans on energy are pretty much the opposite of each
other. Sparks will fly.

Scotsman 14th April 2022

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/scottish-and-uk-governments-are-on-a-collision-course-over-nuclear-energy-and-oil-dr-richard-dixon-3653814

April 16, 2022 - Posted by | politics, UK

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