Scotland politics

Scottish Conservatives back greater energy mix

Wind farm
Image caption The Conservatives want to shift the balance away from onshore wind farms

The Scottish Conservatives have called for an end to the "march of the wind farms" as part of a review of future energy needs.

The party wants a pause on onshore wind farm applications and has backed use of fossil fuels, shale gas and nuclear.

It wants to shift the balance away from onshore wind to other renewable sources and build nuclear plants to replace Hunterston B and Torness.

The Scottish government opposes any new build nuclear power stations.

Announcing the policy review, Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said: "This is a comprehensive review of Scotland's energy needs, which does not focus narrowly on one particular part of the industry to meet demand.

"Crucial to keeping the lights on in years to come is an energy mix made up of renewables, nuclear and oil and gas.

"If we get this balance right then we can minimise the cost for consumers and the impact on our communities up and down the country."

The shake-up also calls for councils to be given the power to halt all wind farm applications for a year and suggests homeowners should be compensated for lost value because of turbines.

In October last year First Minister Alex Salmond announced a new goal to meet half of Scotland's electricity demand from renewable energy by 2015.

Electricity targets

Tory MEP Struan Stevenson said: "The march of the wind farms under Alex Salmond and the SNP has to be brought to a halt. The figures are quite stark.

"The thousands of turbines in operation, being built or in the planning stage, mean that Scotland will easily overshoot its electricity target."

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, convener of the Scottish Parliament's energy, economy and tourism committee, said taxes should be favourable to North Sea oil and gas.

"As we can see from the experience in the US, the exploration of shale gas and coal-bed methane has the potential to raise billions of pounds, resulting in reduced energy bills," he said.

"But as with all new technologies, we must be evidence-led in exploring the best and safest routes of development in this field."

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