A SCOTTISH energy expert believes the costs of delivering more low-carbon power could be reduced substantially if the Scottish Government was given powers to fund its own renewable energy programme.

In his report for the Scottish Greens, Dr David Toke, reader in energy politics at Aberdeen University, said this could be done by giving the Scottish Government control to spend money that would otherwise be added to Scottish electricity customers’ bills to fund the Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant.

He said that every electricity customer will have to spend an extra £16 a year over the next 35 years to pay for the HPC but if Scottish consumers’ money was spent on supporting renewable energy, rather than paying for their share of Hinkley Point, then almost wind power would generate at least double the amount of electricity than that produced from HPC Mark Ruskell MSP, Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said Toke’s report shows that for the same amount of money, Scots could fund almost twice as much power from onshore and offshore wind farms.

He added: “Scotland is missing out as wind power costs fall rapidly, with some especially low prices being reported in Denmark and the Netherlands. With devolution of control over energy payments, we could achieve better value for money for Scottish consumers.

“As well as not supporting the UK Government’s love of nuclear with its toxic legacy, devolution of this funding mechanism would enable us to agree cheaper prices with renewable energy providers over a longer period, ending the uncertainty caused by the Tories’ anti-renewables position. The report we publish today shows how to get more low-carbon energy for less money. This merits serious consideration by both Scottish and UK governments.”

Toke said wind costs are falling rapidly, with some love prices being reported in Denmark and the Netherlands and under an energy programme organised by the Scottish Government the cheapest onshore windfarms could start generating in 2020 and offshore windfarms, organised under a new, Danish-style framework, could be online by 2026.

He added: “The Scottish Government’s own preference for renewable energy over nuclear power lends support to the suggestion that the Scottish Government should be able to use Scottish consumers money to pay for new renewable energy rather than new nuclear power. Moreover, the best value for money for Scottish consumers in terms of generating non-fossil fuels is likely to come from the Scottish Government having powers to fund its own renewable energy programme from Scottish consumer bills.

“This is because the Scottish Government will be able to decide on what contract length to offer wind developers, for example offering to pay guaranteed prices for 20 years rather than 15 years as done by the Westminster Government now with renewable energy.”

The Scottish Government said it has “consistently championed wind power” as the cheapest form of low carbon generation and pushed the UK Government to give a long-term signal of support for wind.

A spokesperson said: “Our support for renewable energy has been a key factor in the remarkable progress the country has made so far through substantially increasing the supply of low carbon electricity and generating sustainable economic growth. We will shortly be publishing a draft Energy Strategy for consultation, alongside our draft Climate Change Plan, presenting a 2050 vision of how cheap renewable generation can supply more of Scotland’s energy needs. “