The National:

THE UK Government has been caught out after it tried to use sleight of hand to claim Scotland’s renewable targets as its own.

The revelation came as Tory energy minister Graham Stuart was quizzed by MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee.

No doubt accidentally, it came after questioning from his fellow Tory MP David Duguid, who had brought up the issue of the UK Government’s targets for low-carbon hydrogen energy.

Targets, targets

In August 2021, the Tories announced plans to have some five gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

The figure was greeted with disappointment as greater ambition had been expected. David Smith, the chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, said the UK Government should set its “sights higher, towards a figure twice that amount”.

READ MORE: Scotland can be leader in green hydrogen exports – if UK gets on board, minister says

Then, in November 2021, the Scottish Government also announced a target of “5GW [of] installed hydrogen production capacity by 2030”. This had also been in the SNP's manifesto in April of that year, meaning that Scotland's initial 5GW pledge predated the Tories'.

The Scottish Government confirmation compounded the London government’s woes, as critics asked why the much smaller devolved administration’s target was equal to the whole of the UK’s.

Unperturbed, the Tories in Westminster came up with a plan. In April 2022, they announced that the new UK Government target was 10GW by 2030.

Just where are these extra GW the Conservatives have promised going to come from? You can probably guess…

At the Scottish Affairs Committee on Monday, Duguid (below) asked: “How much of that 10GW is actually coming from Scotland as a UK target?”

Energy minister Stuart avoided giving a straight answer. Instead, he said the two targets “fit together”, going on: “Neatly having doubled, clearly the 10GW can incorporate the five.”

The National:

Referencing the initial UK target, Duguid asked: “How could the Scottish Government say 5GW by 2030 and the UK Government say 5GW by 2030? Was it all going to come from Scotland?”

Stuart simply responded that "that is no longer the situation".

No doubt not quite able to believe what she was hearing, SNP MP Deidre Brock asked if the UK Government had just been “incorporating Scotland’s ambitions” into their targets rather than actually boosting their own.

“No, no,” Stuart said. “We doubled our target for our own reasons and the Scottish target fits perfectly well within that.”

Aye, right.