Examination of Witness (Questions 96 -
WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH 2001
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
(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