HC Deb 11 June 1980 vol 986 cc547-8
14. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the failure of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to discharge the duty laid on it by section 4 of the Electricity (Scotland) Act 1979, he will commission another organisation or firm to carry out experiments into the possibility of using wave, tide, wind, natural gas or other forms of energy as alternatives to oil, in the Scottish Islands.

Mr. Younger

No, Sir. The board already generates some electricity from natural gas on Orkney, and is examining the possible use of other alternatives to oil for the generation of electricity on its isolated systems.

Mr. Grimond

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the board's record on this is deplorable? Will he ask the Highlands and Islands Development Board, which has its headquarters in the area, to show some interest and at least carry out experiments. The latest folly of the hydro board is to send four or five copies of a pamphlet on saving energy to each firm in my constituency. We know all about the need to save energy. What we want is cheaper energy.

Mr. Younger

I note what the right hon. Gentleman says. I am not sure whether he is being entirely fair to the board. It already generates electricity from cheap surplus gas in Orkney, it has had extensive discussions with the British Gas Corporation about the purchase of gas for electricity generation in Shetland. There is also a proposed experiment to develop wind generation in Orkney, which it is hoped will operate experimentally by the end of 1981. We all have to face the problem of saving electricity. The board's area can be no exception.

Mr. John MacKay

Is my right hon. Friend aware that my constituents in Tiree and Caol would be happy to try to save electricity, but are not happy to have a surcharge imposed on them? Is he further aware that they will refuse to pay that surcharge?

Mr. Younger

I note what my hon. Friend says. As he knows, I am still considering the representations made to me by the consultative council. I hope to make an announcement before long.

Forward to