By David Bol
A GREENS minister has insisted that “Scotland’s enormous potential for offshore wind has not changed” despite officials admitting a claim the country had a quarter of Europe’s potential is not true.
The Scottish Government will update figures after analysis by the pro-Union think tank These Islands found that a claim that Scotland holds 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind capacity is not true.
The figure, which dates back to 2010 has been repeated by SNP MSPs and MPs to boast about Scotland’s renewables potential.
The Scottish Government has failed to say what percentage of Europe’s potential the country has, but has admitted the 25% figure is incorrect.
Conservative energy spokesperson, Liam Kerr brought up the issue in Holyrood, stressing the Scottish Government knew the figure “lacks evidence and that it knew there was no basis for it”.
In response, Greens minister Lorna Slater admitted the figure “is now out of date”.
She added: “However, this does not change the fact that Scotland already has an important offshore wind sector and we have huge potential to grow this and become a global leader with over 40GW of potential offshore wind development already in the pipeline.”
But Mr Kerr accused Ms Slater of having “completely missed the point”.
He added: “Everyone wants the renewables industry to succeed, but this will not be achieved by ministers putting out dodgy data.
“Only a couple of weeks ago, I made a point of order as the First Minister had misrepresented Scotland’s energy consumption from renewables.
“Instead of doing the honourable thing and publicly admitting her mistake, she quietly amended the official record. So it seems the misrepresentation and misuse of data might be endemic within this government.
“The civil service apparently knew that data was not true several years ago. So minister, when did ministers first become aware that what they were using or that they were using a figure that to quote Scottish Government officials ‘hadn’t been properly sourced’?”
Ms Slater told MSPs that ministers became aware of the inaccurate figure on November 8.
She added: “What doesn’t change about this statistic is the amount of renewable energy potential that Scotland has, which is still significant and is part of our future energy provision in Scotland now and as an independent country with over 40 gigawatts that’s in the pipeline already - presuming planning decisions and finding a route to market which is the equivalent of producing enough electricity to power every home in Scotland for 17 years.”
CREDIT: David Bol