A leading energy expert has dismissed as “nonsense” the SNP target to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by the end of the decade.
Professor Dieter Helm said Scotland would always have to rely on traditional generation mainly nuclear, coal and gas to keep the lights on.
The Oxford University professor of energy policy, said: “Salmond has talked about 100% renewables for Scotland. Well, it’s nonsense. Wind is intermittent by definition.
“You have to ask a very simple question; even if you wanted to do this, what are you going to do when the wind doesn’t blow?
“The truth is Scotland relies on baseload nuclear power, coal and gas to balance its system and it will have to for a very long time to come. Full stop.”
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser put Prof Helm’s comments to Alex Salmond who will be replaced by Nicola Sturgeon as first minister next week.
Mr Salmond said his energy policy, which had seen a surge in renewables, had been extremely effective.
“Of course, it would be fantastic if other areas of energy policy were under the control of this Parliament,” he said.
“I would like, for example, not to have seen the total chaos that has resulted in the electricity markets – as a result of coalition policies at Westminster – which is threatening the people of England with blackouts or brownouts in the very near future.
“I would like to have seen things like oil and gas under the control of the Scottish Parliament, so that the great natural resources of Scotland could be invested in the future of the Scottish economy.”
Afterwards Mr Fraser called Prof Helm’s comments a “telling analysis of the SNP’s flawed energy policy”.
Everyone agreed that green energy has a place, but to suggest that Scotland could become completely reliant on it was unrealistic, he said, and if aggressively pursued could threaten energy supplies.
“With a change of first minister it’s time for a change in energy policy,” he said.
“The current obsession with windfarms not only won’t work, but jeopardises the scenic value of many parts of Scotland.
“The Scottish Government should listen to the views of this world-renowned energy expert.”