A major industry body has warned that the threat of blackouts could hang over Scotland unless the SNP changes its energy policy.
In a stark message to ministers, the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland – which has 8,000 members – said Scotland could “transition from being a net exporter to being a net importer of electricity”.
The society warned that the debate around energy had to move beyond an “at times irrational and ill-informed discourse” to a more evidence-led approach.
The Scottish Conservative’s energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said the report showed the need for a more “balanced energy policy”.
Professor Gary Pender, chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers Scotland Committee, said: “Scotland will transition from being a net exporter to being a net importer of electricity if the closures of Longannet, Hunterston and Torness are not replaced by new development.
“Energy policy is hugely politically controversial, with wind power, nuclear power and onshore gas extraction provoking particularly emotional and politically motivated responses.
“We need to move beyond this at times irrational and ill-informed discourse about all these forms of energy generation, and conduct a thorough, expert-informed assessment of the right approach for Scotland.
“Decisions must be made on evidence and resilience, not on emotion and politics.”
Mr Fraser said: “We have been saying for some time that we need to have an evidence-led, science-based approach to energy policy.
“Instead, the Scottish Government is playing to the gallery by banning or slurring forms of energy it doesn’t think SNP members like.
“But instead of pandering to the green lobby, ministers have a responsibility to keep the lights on and make sure energy prices are low.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have a clear policy for a balanced energy mix to provide energy security for the future that balances fossil fuels alongside the growing importance of renewables, which again saw record levels of generation last year, and without the need for new nuclear power.
“As we move to a low carbon energy system over the longer term, we expect Scotland to maintain its position as a net exporter of power even after Longannet closes, whereas the UK as a whole is increasingly reliant on imports from other European countries.”