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Based on published figures for 2010, Scotland’s electricity generation percentages were 30.6 per cent from nuclear, 29.5 per cent from coal and 19.1 per cent from renewables.
Last Monday, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on its draft electricity generation policy statement, which highlights how Scotland currently generates electricity to meet demand and outlines the pathway for the changes that are needed to meet our targets. The statement confirms that the 2020 target is achievable, while recognising it as a challenge to the energy supply sector, our renewables industry innovators and Scotland’s communities.
The electricity generation policy statement makes numerous references to Hunterston and suggests that its life as a nuclear plant could be extended by up to five years or that it could be a new contender for a carbon capture and storage plant. The minister might not be aware that, at a meeting of North Ayrshire Council on 5 March, Scottish National Party members voted against the Labour Party and removed Hunterston from the local development plan. There has been widespread opposition to a new coal-fired plant, including from the SNP constituency MSP, Kenny Gibson.
I ask the minister to confirm just what the Government’s policy is on Hunterston. Does it feature as part of the Government’s plans? When does the minister expect a decision on the Hunterston CCS project proposal?
As I am the minister who will be required to deal with any such decision, it would be wholly inappropriate for me to make any comment on that matter. However, I can reassure the member with regard to the Hunterston nuclear power station. The position is crystal clear and is stated in paragraph 50 of the EGPS, which, as it happens, I have before me. That makes it absolutely clear that, if the office for nuclear regulation is
“satisfied that high levels of safety and security could be maintained over the planned lifetime of the installation”,
“Subject to the relevant safety cases being made, the Scottish Government would not oppose operating life extension applications” at Hunterston.