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RENEWABLES researchers argue that wind turbines north of the border could power every home in Scotland and more — but energy union GMB says this is a “ludicrous” claim.
New figures from Weather Energy show wind power output reaching a record high in the first six months of this year.
Environmental campaign WWF said today that these onshore turbines could power 4.47 million homes — double the number of households in Scotland.
Scotland’s onshore wind supply could power homes “from the Isle of Harris to Harrogate” in Yorkshire, WWF Scotland energy and climate chief Robin Parker said.
“These are amazing figures,” he added. “Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead.
“Up and down the country, we are all benefiting from cleaner energy and so is the climate.”
But GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith noted that four-fifths of energy used in Scotland “doesn’t come from electricity,” with the rest accounted for by oil-based fuels and home gas supplies.
“The vast majority of homes in Scotland are heated by gas,” he said. “Any idea we are going to move to electric heating any time soon is nonsense.
“We use gas to heat homes and power industry because it three times cheaper than electricity too. If you live in Scotland and you don’t have access to gas, your are probably fuel poor.”
In May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” in Scotland, and her government has since set new targets for reducing fossil fuel consumption.
The current reliance on gas means only 6 per cent of all Scotland’s home heating comes from renewable sources.
Mr Parker said it was “about time the UK government stepped up and gave Scottish onshore wind a route to market.”
But GMB’s Mr Smith hit back, saying: “The thing about renewables is intermittency. What are they are going to do when the wind doesn’t blow?
“The people who peddle the myth of 100 per cent renewables to meet our energy needs either have no understanding of what they are talking about or they are being utterly dishonest.”
He demanded an end to “the renewables rip-off,” saying the sector was “hugely subsidised and produced “no manufacturing jobs to speak of.”
Mr Smith also called for “an honest conversation about how we reduce carbon, meet our energy needs and produce real jobs for working-class communities” in Scotland.
“The snake oil salesmen of the rip-off renewables sector need challenging,” he added.
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