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KPMG in row over leaked CO2 report

A row over the costs of Britain’s future energy mix has escalated after trade body Scottish Renewables demanded that a controversial economic report be made public.

According to The Scotsman, the paper by accountancy firm KPMG and analysts at AF Consult claimed that the UK could meet its carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets without the need to produce higher levels of renewable energy.

Figures from energy regulator Ofgem suggest it will cost the UK some £108 billion to hit its 2020 target of cutting the amount of CO2 emitted by 34 per cent, compared to 1990’s levels.

But the KPMG report claims £34bn could be sliced off the total by concetrating on gas-fired and nuclear power stations instead of off-shore wind, which adds £10bn to the bill.

Those figures were revealed in November in a press release that the accountancy firm claims was “leaked”. The issue was brought to a head when the data formed part of a documentary by the BBC’s Panorama television series.

The press release said the report was based on the “pure economics” of producing energy and that other factors, such as job creation, also needed to be taken into account.

Now Scottish Renewables wants KPMG to publish the full report so that it can examine the calculations made to reach the figures.

Scottish Renewables chief executive Niall Stuart said: “The conclusions seem to rely on some extremely pessimistic assumptions about the costs of renewables and some extremely positive ones about the future cost of gas and nuclear power.”

Mr Stuart added: “The releasing of the report’s findings in this way has undoubtedly damaged the previously excellent reputation of KPMG within the renewable energy sector.

“The releasing of selective conclusions that are particularly negative about renewables ahead of the publication of the report has eroded goodwill among current and potential clients in our sector.”

A KPMG spokesman said: “We are aware of the leaked press release. We hope to be in a position to release the official, full report findings shortly and will be in touch as soon as we can on timing.”