Jo has argued against giving priority to nuclear power when addressing the restructuring of the National Grid
The future shape of the UK’s National Grid must not be weighted in favour of new nuclear power, according to Jo Swinson MP.
Jo called today for a forward-looking approach to renewal of the National Grid to allow Scotland to make the most of its potential for renewable energy generation.
Speaking in Parliament today, Jo asked newly appointed Secretary of State for Scotland Douglas Alexander:
“Does the Secretary of State accept that for us to maximise the potential of clean and safe renewable energy, including microgeneration, we will need to move to a decentralised grid design, and that this is incompatible with the centralised system demands of new nuclear power?”
Commenting further, Jo said:
“The Department for Trade and Industry has admitted that the UK’s National Grid will need to be renewed within the next 20 years. The current grid was designed in the early part of last century to provide for the energy needs of 1940s and 1950s Britain.
“If this centralised grid model is updated in keeping with this old-fashioned model, it will be weighted heavily in favour of nuclear power. This would mean a commitment for decades to come, to a centralised, wasteful, expensive system of energy production.
“Microgeneration, the small scale production of energy for use by individual householders, has the potential to revolutionise the way we make and use energy. Already we are seeing energy efficient new-build houses utilising micro wind turbines and solar panels, as well as a desire among communities to work together to meet collective energy needs.
“However, if we are to maximise the potential of microgeneration, as well as other renewable, clean, safe energy sources, we need to look at putting in place a decentralised grid model. This is the antithesis of the Government’s continued reliance on centralised energy production and new nuclear power.
“Given the world-beating potential of Scotland in the renewable energy market, the new Secretary of State exhibited a worrying lack of interest in addressing the question he was asked over future grid design.”
The Department for Trade & Industry Energy White Paper, February 2003, states that the UK’s National Grid “will need restructuring over the next 20 years to support the emergence far more renewables and small-scale, distributed electricity generation.”
The Sustainable Development Commission March 2006 report ‘The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy’ states: “There are concerns that investment in a new nuclear programme would reinforce the UK’s reliance on a centralised grid system and could therefore decrease the investment available for the network reinforcement needed to cope with much higher levels of microgeneration and large-scale renewables.”