Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 96 - 99)




  96. Dr Martin, welcome to the Science and Technology Select Committee. Thank you very much indeed for coming along and helping us with our perhaps rather brief but very important inquiry into wave and tidal energy. If there is any truth in the rumour that there is going to be a general election we are determined to get this report out before then so we put our marker down on the important subject of alternative energy generation, and that marker might well be picked up by the successor Committee in due course, who knows, and it might be, then, a wider inquiry. We thought that this would be a good place to start. I wonder if you could introduce yourself very briefly, saying what your job is and the company you work for.

  (Dr Martin) My name is Dr James Martin. I am Generation Director for Scottish and Southern Energy, which is the successor company of Scottish Hydroelectric, as a result of a merger with Southern Electric. I am responsible for all of the generation operations of that company. We produce approximately ten per cent of the United Kingdom's electricity and I produce 48 per cent of the United Kingdom's renewable energy. If renewable energy is classified as natural renewables, as distinct from refuse burning, I produce over three-quarters of the United Kingdom's renewable energy, and I would submit that definition.

  97. Thank you very much indeed. I think you have answered what I was going to ask you next: what percentage of your electricity comes from renewable sources? Let us take the percentages away from the United Kingdom as you have given them now and talk about your total generation. What percentage of your total generation is from renewable sources? I think in that we could include hydro power, could we not? You would, would you not?
  (Dr Martin) Yes, I would. The renewable generation we produce is all hydro and that is approximately one sixth of our production and the balance of my production is gas. As a company, Scottish and Southern Energy has the lowest CO2 emissions per kilowatt hour generated in the United Kingdom of the major generators.

  98. You have no coal? You are gas and renewable?
  (Dr Martin) We are gas and renewable.

  99. What is your company's involvement with wave and tidal, which is the subject of our inquiry?
  (Dr Martin) At present we have no financial commitment to either. Our historic involvement has been to contribute our expertise into the research behind the Wavegen project. Indeed, Wavegen I believe still have my wave tank, and we have contributed our laboratory facilities to Wavegen in the early stages of development of their Osprey scheme. We were involved in the Osprey scheme with an undertaking at that time to connect the Osprey device off Dounreay in the north of Scotland in the Pentland Firth to the shore, providing it survived the first winter. Unfortunately, it did not survive the first winter but not, in my view, for any fundamental reasons.

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