It's Green Energy Day!
Bet you didn’t know this was Green Energy Day?
Actually, take that back. Given the (mostly) erudite tone of the contributions to this blog, I expect you already knew it fine and well.
Anyway, Green Energy Day marks the point at which Scotland has, for the first time, the installed capacity to produce more energy from renewables than from nuclear.
The capacity, mark you. The potential. The calculation only really applies if all Scotland’s wind farms etc are operating at 100 %.
Anyway, Alex Salmond marked GED by visiting Crystal Rig windfarm near Dunbar. He said he was aginst new nuclear - and in favour of renewable energy. Wind, wave, tidal, biomass and the rest.
The response from Labour was markedly acerbic - and in line with their evident determination to depict Mr S as all mouth and no trousers.
Iain Gray, the comeback kid, accused the SNP of thwarting wind farm developments on the ground (or rather in the skies above the ground, but you know what I mean.)
Mr Gray said: “Scotland cannot be powered by Alex Salmond’s bluster alone. It is time for him to get real on renewables.”
Potent stuff - backed up, say Labour, by evidence from around Scotland. Although I imagine that the first minister might reflect upon the UK Labour Government’s support for new nuclear - and permit himself a wry smile.
Still and all, the former first minister, Jack McConnell, was of the view that new nuclear would not be needed in Scotland, that the Scottish contribution to UK energy needs would be a big push for renewables.
His then Lib Dem partners were firmly against new nuclear. Which could have made for fun coalition talks - except that I believe they could comfortably have finessed the issue, given J. McConnell’s stand.
In the event, of course, that particular “problem” didn’t survive the election. But the issue of Scotland’s energy choice certainly did.
As Iain Gray’s remarks usefully remind us, the renewables choice is far from the soft option. As Alex Salmond’s remarks helpfully stress, the nuclear choice can have long-term consequences.
Perhaps, in there somewhere, there is the prospect of a mature debate - once the unalloyed thrill of Green Energy Day fades.