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Scotland renewable electricity needs EfW, say engineers

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s proposal to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources will fail because of an over-reliance on wind and solar power, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has warned.

A report published by IMechE strongly criticised the Scottish Government for setting targets based on unpredictable sustainable energy sources, which it said would turn Scotland into a net importer of on-demand electricity.

It said if more electricity was to be generated entirely from renewable sources there had to be a “readjustment” to more reliable and predictable resources like biomass and energy from waste (EfW).

IMechE also said the rush to develop renewable energy plants was based on “idealistic solutions” and called on the Scottish Government to back up its proposals.

Director Dr Colin Brown said: “Without any clear, workable and engineering-based plan of action, it is doubtful whether these targets are achievable at all. Holyrood needs to draw up a detailed, achievable and public strategy on how they plan to deliver these targets.”

According to the Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy published in June, biomass is set to play a “key contribution” in delivering the target of 11% of heat from renewable sources by 2020.

It also said EfW could contribute around 2.0 TWh of useful heat and 0.9 TWh of electricity each year, and that electricity production waste facilities could meet 8% of Scotland’s existing electricity demand.

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