Scotland could produce 50 per cent of energy needs from renewables by 2030, finds report

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 10 October 2016 in News

Report finds the most cost-effective way to meet climate targets requires that renewables produce half Scotland’s energy across heat, transport and electricity by 2030

Wind turbines - credit: Holyrood

Scotland is capable of producing 50 per cent of its energy needs from renewables by 2030, according to a new report.

The report, from Ricardo Energy and Environment, and commissioned by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland, found that the most cost-effective way to meet climate targets requires that renewables produce half Scotland’s energy across heat, transport and electricity by 2030.

Ministers welcomed the analysis, while Scottish Renewables said the 50 per cent target “would ensure that renewables can play a key role in meeting Scotland’s climate change targets and maximise the jobs and investment that our sector can bring to Scotland”.


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The report, ‘The Energy of Scotland: Heating, moving and powering our lives from now to 2030’, calls for the Scottish Government to introduce a national energy efficiency programme to reduce energy use in homes by 30 per cent, and for two-fifths of Scotland’s homes to be heated from renewable sources, with a Warm Homes Act to improve access to cleaner, more affordable heat.

It recommends that one in three cars and half of all buses should be electric, and that Scotland’s electricity should be almost entirely generated from renewables, with excess generation exported abroad.

Colin McNaught, managing consultant at Ricardo Energy and Environment, said the report was the “most sophisticated model yet” for what Scotland’s energy system will look like in 2030 if climate targets are to be met in the most cost-effective way.

The report says the measures recommended would create new jobs and mean warmer, healthier homes.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks called on the Scottish Government to “bring in the policies needed” for the 50 per cent target in its upcoming energy strategy.

He said: “Doing so would enable Scotland to enjoy the many economic and social benefits that the report suggests would take place as result of generating half of all our energy needs from renewables.

“Scotland is already seeing the economic and social benefits of shifting our electricity system to clean, climate-friendly, renewables generation. However, with electricity accounting for just one quarter of our energy use, it’s time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors.”

Scotland has already exceeded the Scottish Government’s target to reduce emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020, but at present only 13 per cent of total final energy consumption comes from renewable sources.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this report, which is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate around the future of energy in Scotland.”

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "Scotland’s ambitious climate change and 2020 renewable energy targets have signalled a clear intent for the country to lead the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy – and driven tremendous growth in renewable electricity generation.

"However, it’s now time to lift our horizons and set an ambitious target to drive investment in renewable heat, power and transport through the 2020s.

"This report echoes Scottish Renewables’ call for a new 50% renewable energy target and, importantly, concludes that this is both achievable and key to meeting our climate change targets.”

The Scottish Government is expected to publish its third climate change plan later this year, setting out its emission strategy between now and 2032, along with how it intends to achieve an emission reduction of 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050.

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