Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:52 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party 4:52 pm, 21st February 2007

The SNP motion, which calls for Scotland to go forward with an enormous renewables and clean energy programme rather than go down the nuclear route, is simply rooted in the fact that Scotland, like every other country, must set ambitious targets to reduce its CO 2 emissions. If we are to make a 2.5 to 3 per cent reduction per annum our target, as the SNP is committed to doing, we will have to ensure that we have in place the cleanest forms of power and that we undertake the least-polluting forms of activity.

Much of the debate is about the production of electricity, which represents 20 per cent of total energy use. That means that we are talking about a fairly narrow area in which to make changes. Energy efficiency can be carried out on a much wider scale. Nevertheless, we want to focus on the way in which we use the production of electricity as an example to the rest of the world.

If the cost of investing in a diversity of sources of electricity is in question, how can we say that the £13 million that has been invested in the Pelamis schemes in Orkney is anything other than a small step when the creation of a new nuclear power station is priced at about £2.5 billion? We have not been told how much it cost to create the nuclear industry. After all, in the past, when the state invested in nuclear power, the taxpayer paid for it; now, it is being put out to the market. In this day and age, Scotland should be investing the resources in the long term and putting more money into renewable enterprises than the current Government does.