Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:10 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Nora Radcliffe Nora Radcliffe Liberal Democrat 4:10 pm, 21st February 2007

I am sorry, but I have got a lot to get through in four minutes.

Most important, building state-subsidised nuclear power plants will sap investment from the renewable energy industry.

Scotland has the resources, the marine energy expertise and the manufacturing capability to develop a world-beating marine energy industry. Microrenewables also offer huge potential to reduce household bills and the demand for centrally generated electricity. The Scottish Executive set itself the target of producing 40 per cent of electricity from renewable resources by 2020, and has met the 18 per cent interim target three years early. In the past three years, we have invested around £100 million in renewables and energy efficiency support—ahead of Ireland or any other part of Britain. Through the Scottish community and householder renewables initiative, we have provided support for more than 600 small and microrenewables projects. Nicol Stephen has announced £13 million of funding for marine energy projects in Scottish waters, mostly in Orkney, where the world's largest commercial wave power farm is being developed. We have developed a £20 million fund for public sector energy efficiency, delivering £70 million of savings and making significant cuts in emissions.

Renewable, decentralised energy and microgeneration are important. Demand is just as important as supply. In energy efficiency, Liberal Democrats believe that the public sector must lead by example by going carbon neutral. We propose to extend the energy efficiency fund to deliver even greater energy savings and to cut carbon emissions still further. Climate change does not give the nuclear industry a way back. Nuclear power is too expensive and unsafe, and no solution has been found for dealing permanently with radioactive waste. A decentralised energy system, working hand in hand with renewable energy sources and more efficient energy use, would tackle head on the problems of climate change, pollution, energy security and cost.