As electricity demand increases across the UK and the distinction between energy and electricity becomes more blurred with the electrification of transport and heating, the focus is shifting to finding the best energy mix.

The latest official statistics have shown nuclear power is keeping the lights on in Scotland as the country’s electricity imports rise and generating statistics diminish. Some71.3 per cent of electricity generated in Scotland is low carbon – an almost half and half mix between renewables (including hydro) and the two nuclear power stations. But overall the country generated 3,000GW less power in 2014 than in 2013. 500GW less power is being exported south of the border to England than in previous years, and more is being imported when there is less wind, on average for at least part of one day in four.

More widely, the same statistics (published this week) show nuclear and renewables are delivering almost half of the UK’s total electricity.

No energy technology is the silver bullet solution but these statistics highlight the importance of having low carbon technologies that work together, especially as coal’s contribution continues to fall – from 40 per cent a few years ago to only 22 per cent now.

Gas remains important – 80 per cent of our homes and business rely on it for heating but we produce much less than we used to, as many gas field are depleting and as a pollutant excessive use is environmentally damaging.

Successive governments have broadly retained a view of the future that is low carbon – nuclear and renewables, with gas also contributing in the immediate term. This combination will not only reduce our carbon emissions, but maintain energy security, and reduce our exposure to the volatility of gas prices.

The benefits of renewables are widely known but its inherent intermittency when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine means it requires constant back up generation. Nuclear is the perfect low carbon complement to renewables. It provides secure, reliable and clean electricity around the clock in Scotland and has done so for more than half a century. To meet the objective of a secure low carbon generation mix, nuclear will have to continue to be part of the mix. The future is about using the best of low carbon technologies open to use to maintain a constant supply.

As EDF make a decision on Hinkley, and other new build projects in North Wales and Cumbria progress, there will be significant economic and job opportunities across the UK.

Hinkley alone would generate enough electricity for six million homes and create 25,000 new jobs, including 1,000 new apprenticeships. Scottish companies have already been lined up to work on the project. Doosan Babcock, Weir and SPX CyldeUnion Pumps in Cathcart, Glasgow, will all deliver major programmes of work associated with the projects, securing jobs today, and ensuring young people can look forward to high skilled and technical careers in the future.

Some argue the cost for nuclear is too high and is not necessary in a world where energy technology evolves every year. However this a gamble we simply cannot afford to take. Stations in the UK are closing and by the end of 2030, 65 per cent of our capacity from 2010 will have shut down. We are facing a capacity crunch, and without new nuclear it will be harder to keep the lights on and meet climate change targets.

Critics often cite Germany as an example of a country that is serious about tackling climate change which is turning off its nuclear stations. However the facts spell out a different story; with a falling supply from nuclear, the Germans are having to resort to coal, with an increasing reliance on lignite – the dirtiest pollutant of all. Intermittent renewables cannot supply a whole system all of the time and despite a substantial rise in their use in Germany, its CO2 emissions have only fallen slightly from 2008 to 2015.

Quite simply, no single solution exists to tackle climate change and maintain energy security. Nuclear, renewables and gas are all needed in the transition towards a low carbon mix. The challenge now is to ensure that mix is delivered, a heady cocktail of prejudice and wishful thinking is a distraction from the important task, which the entire industry has to be part of solving.

Tom Greatrex is chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association.