A senior adviser to the oil and gas industry has hit out on the Scottish government’s energy police and warned that Scotland will suffer from shortage in base load capacity.

Dr Stuart Paton, former Chief Executive of Dana Petroleum, says that after the decommissioning of the two Scottish nuclear power stations Scotland will not have base load capacity.

He believes that unconventional gas development, particularly in Central Scotland from shale and coal bed methane, and new build nuclear capacity would help to fill this gap in supply.

“The Scottish Government has a commitment to zero emissions from electricity generation by 2020, yet an outright rejection of nuclear power and continued support for a coal power station at Longannet. The government shows unbridled support for the offshore oil and gas industry, but not onshore unconventionals.”

Dr. Paton’s paper Power of Scotland: Energy Policy in Scotland, has been published by the think tank Reform Scotland on its Melting Pot blog.

“At present”, he writes, “the problem of base load capacity is satisfied by nuclear capacity, fossil fuel generation and imports. Therefore, without new, non-wind reliant, generation capacity, Scotland will not have base load capacity. The development of new nuclear or unconventional gas provides potential local supply.

“There is significant potential for unconventional oil and gas development in Central Scotland in shale oil and gas and coal bed methane. INEOS, who own the Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical’s complex have acquired interests in Central Scotland demonstrating the potential in this area.

“From a Scottish perspective, the Holyrood government has been activist in laying out an energy policy. However, there are a number of contradictions in that policy.

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