ALBA Accuse UK Government of “falsifying the official record” on Scottish Offshore Wind
Salmond says “unionists cannot stand the awesome reality of Scotland’s energy wealth.”
The UK Government have been accused of a “systematic cover up” after a key report outlining Scotland’s massive offshore wind potential was removed from a Government website.
The issue of Scotland’s offshore wind potential has been in focus this week after a report by Unionist Think Tank These Islands claimed that a figure, often quoted by the Scottish Government, that Scotland had 25% of Europe’s Offshore wind potential was incorrect.
This led to Alex Salmond’s ALBA Party highlighting this week that the exact same figure had in fact been used by the then coalition UK Government in a range of UK Government publications.
For example the key report titled “Offshore wind industrial strategy: business and government action” in 2013 released by then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg included the claim that “Scotland has a major role to play in this with an estimated 25% of Europe’s offshore wind potential” The then Business Secretary Vince Cable also stated that the North Sea had “more offshore wind power than the rest of the world combined”.
However, within hours of ALBA drawing attention to these UK publications the text that had stood for 9 years was dismissed by the UK Government as being used in error in their own landmark report and it was subsequently removed from the National Archives website.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond has now entered the debate and accused the current UK Government of falsifying the official record as part of a cover up to try and detract from the huge potential of Scotland’s offshore wind sector, a move he likened to North Sea Oil and Gas which successive UK Government’s falsely claimed was running out back in the 1980s.
The ALBA Leader has also said it is a dangerous precedent if the current UK Government are allowed to erase matters of record established by previous Governments just because some unionist pressure group wants to run down Scotland’s potential as a renewable nation.
Salmond’s ALBA Party say that it is in the UK Government’s interest to downplay the massive economic benefit of Scottish offshore wind as “people across Scotland are waking up to the absurdity that Scotland is an energy rich nation with hundreds of thousands of households living in fuel poverty.”
At the weekend ALBA pointed to reports from the European Commission and the EU which showed that in terms of ACTUAL offshore wind fields and grid connections planned to come on line, Scotland alone could deliver an enormous 42GW of offshore wind power - 46% of what the whole of the European Union expects on their own existing plans by the much later date of 2050.
Commenting ALBA Party Leader Alex Salmond said:
“Supporters of independence will be well aware of successive UK Government’s deliberate policy over decades of falsely claiming that the North Sea’s vast Oil & Gas reserves were running out. Even in the run up to the 2014 referendum this was a key scare story of project fear. Fast forward to today and it’s a Windfall Tax on Scotland’s North Sea that the UK Government are turning to in desperation in the midst of the economic chaos they’ve inflicted on the country.
“And so, those suppression of facts that we saw with our Oil & Gas reserves we are now seeing with our huge renewables bounty. The European Commission recognised not long ago that the North Sea is currently the world’s leading region for deployed capacity and expertise in offshore wind and we have high and widespread potential for much more. Scotland’s renewable energy wealth is the envy of the world.
“It is not surprising that UK Cabinet Ministers were using the 25 per cent figure back in 2012. These estimates for both Scotland and the whole North Sea potential were largely drawn by civil servants from our joint work in the Offshore Valuation Group from 2010 where the Department of Energy & Climate Change fully co-operated with the Scottish Government and the then Crown Estate.
“The Offshore Valuation Group estimates are holding up extremely well a decade later but, if anything, they are underestimates of offshore marine potential of Scotland. They are certainly not exaggerations. For example in 2010 the Valuation Group estimated the total fixed wind resource off the Scottish coast at 46 GW. That is a truly enormous figure but is likely to be surpassed in Scotland’s North Sea alone with 42GW of largely fixed wind projects by 2035. And all that is before the even greater potential offshore resource of floating wind comes in to its own.
“Unfortunately the Scottish Government seem to have lost the groundbreaking civil service expertise we had in such abundance ten years ago while the best you can say about the hapless Green Party Minister is that she is inadequately briefed. Meanwhile the SNP now seem to lack the guts and gumption to withstand a unionist propaganda wheeze. That does not augur well for their preparedness for any upcoming referendum campaign.
“What is truly disgraceful is that the UK Government are now trying to falsify the record all because of a puerile attack by a unionist pressure group. These people simply can’t stand the reality that Scotland is renewable rich just as they previously tried to conceal the extent of Scotland’s oil wealth. But regardless of their embarrassment the UK government cannot be allowed to erase the record.
“While we have the obscenity of fuel poor Scots in energy rich Scotland the UK Government will go to any lengths to cover up this huge economic opportunity. We cannot allow Westminster to squander our renewables opportunity the same way they plundered and wasted Scotland’s oil wealth.
Enough is enough. It’s time for independence.”