Market reform can create Scottish jobs

Reform of the electricity market is good news for Scotland’s employment prospects says Alex Salmond. The First Minister says yesterday’s EMR White Paper will reduce volatile price hikes, while supporting […]

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By Sumit Bose

Reform of the electricity market is good news for Scotland’s employment prospects says Alex Salmond. The First Minister says yesterday’s EMR White Paper will reduce volatile price hikes, while supporting tens of thousands of new green jobs.

He said: “Electricity market reform can help realise Scotland’s huge potential for clean energy generation and ensure security of supply across these islands. Scotland is leading the development of renewable energy generation and carbon capture & storage (CCS) technologies. EMR provides an opportunity to accelerate that. The multi-billion pound investments required will create tens of thousands of new jobs, leading to the reindustrialisation of Scotland as we drive forward the renewables revolution.”

EMR could create 40,000 Scottish jobs just in the renewables sector alone by 2020. Mr Salmond broadly welcomed the White Paper but said there were some important questions that remain.

“We have concerns about some of the detailed proposals. For example the move from the Renewables Obligation certificate regime to a Contract for Difference (CfD) mechanism must not create an investment hiatus, given the considerable progress already made and our ambitious plans up to 2020.

“We are also fundamentally opposed to the support for new nuclear plants because every pound spent subsidising this expensive and unpredictable technology of the last century is one pound less available for investment in future growth of renewable generation. Given the windfall that nuclear generators are likely to receive under the Carbon Price Floor mechanism, there should be no additional subsidy for nuclear through the proposed CfD.

“The White Paper also pays insufficient regard to initiatives to protect consumers’ interests and I’ve stressed to Chris Huhne that this is an area that must be strengthened.”