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Alex Salmond Talks up Scotland’s Green Energy Ambitions

By Rob Hull on September 29, 2010

Alex Salmond

Addressing the conference, Mr Salmond argued energy efficiency and conservation are key factors that are currently shaping the future of mankind.

In reference to offshore wind and marine energy opportunities, Mr Salmond claimed the world had encountered a “pivotal turning point in human history”.

Flexing his ability to sell a vision, Mr Salmond likened such opportunities as being “on a par with the move from hunter-gathering to settled agricultural communities or the discovery of the New World in 1492”.

If climate change scientists are to be believed, Mr Salmond could actually be underselling the importance of a carbon-free society; indeed, a new report published on Wednesday in IOP Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters claims that the measures outlined in the Copenhagen Accord are not likely to avert climate change. According to the report, the global temperature could increase by up to 4.2C and coral reefs could disappear by 2100.

Green energy measures have been adopted internationally but whether they are sufficient to alter the trend of global warming remains to be seen. In the UK, the Government has urged thousands of households to install cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, double glazing and more energy efficient boilers to help cut carbon emissions, yet substantial green savings are still to be made through the uptake of renewable energy sources.

If Scotland were able to achieve a 100 per cent renewable electricity target, the world could change forever.

Mr Salmond is a renowned motivational speaker but, as his opponents point out, he does not always deliver on his promises.

Even Mr Salmond’s own government claims that his existing renewable energy targets are “not easy to achieve”.

Generating around 7GW of electricity per annum from 100 per cent renewable sources within the next 15 years could prove a step too far for Mr Salmond; however, Ian Marchant, the Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, could not disagree more.

Reflecting on the possibility of a 100 per cent target, Mr Marchant said: “I calculated that Scotland’s potential is roughly 200 per cent for renewables, onshore wind, offshore wind, hydro and biomass”.