Last month the Scottish Executive published the first of a two volume study into Scotland's energy use. Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Alan Wilson, has stated that the study highlights "the challenge of maintaining security of supply, without becoming over dependent on imports." With increasing awareness of the finite nature of oil reserves, and a less than stable situation in Middle East, government and the media are increasing focusing on energy use and method of supply, for both individual consumers and for business.
The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) today has published a survey that shows that small firms are being hurt by the rising price of oil, and that job cuts may be the inevitable outcome. Steve Sharratt chairman of the CBI 's SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Council warns that because of the high price of oil the Bank of England must be prepared for a cut in interest rates if there is no sign of pick up in the economy.
However some countries have come up with some radical solutions to this problem, with Sweden announcing it's attention to become the first oil free country by 2020. Sweden started phasing out nuclear power in the 1980's and today 26% of its energy comes from renewables, this is set to increase, combined with tax relief for conversion from oil.
The European Commission is also preparing new strategies for future EU energy policies. A green paper will be presented on 8 March and discussed among EU heads of state and government at their spring summit. Whatever the outcomes of the spring summit, it is certain that individuals, businesses and government will all come under increased pressure to alter our energy consumption, and the argument over it's production will continue.