Scottish Government targets 50% of energy from renewables by 2030
Scottish Government releases draft energy strategy
Wind farm - credit: Fotolia
The Scottish Government has unveiled its draft energy strategy, with a target to produce 50 per cent of Scotland’s energy from renewables by 2030.
The strategy, which set out the Scottish Government’s aims to move towards a low-carbon economy up until 2050, follows the release of the draft climate change plan last week, targeting a 66 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2032.
Alongside plans to generate half of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030, the Government will also consult on whether to reopen Longannet as a coal-fired station using Carbon Capture and Storage.
Ministers also proposed creating a new Scottish government-owned energy company to help support local and community energy projects.
The consultation which will run up to 30 May 2017.
Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said the new renewable energy target was achievable but “absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish Governments”.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcomed the draft strategy, saying it proved Scotland has no need to build new nuclear reactors or rely on shale gas extraction.
He said: “With 50 per cent of all energy to come from renewables by 2030 and 100 per cent of our electricity well before then this plan sets us firmly on course to becoming one of the leading low-carbon nations in the world. We will need to do even more if we are to make our fair contribution to halting climate change.
“Scotland is blessed with abundant clean energy resources and we need to harness the huge energies in the wind, waves and sun. We are already doing very well on electricity but we must build on this and also transform energy use in transport and heating, getting away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels as soon as we can.”
He added: “We are pleased that it recognises the potential of offshore wind, which could meet all of Scotland’s electricity needs several times over on its own but has been stuck in the doldrums recently. If properly planned, a major expansion of marine renewables would be the ideal way to create a just transition for workers currently facing a bleak future in the oil industry.”
"The transformation of our energy system is an important opportunity to create a more equal and socially just Scotland. We urge the Scottish Government to work closely with workers and communities to ensure that the shift away from fossil fuel dependency is fair to everyone involved."
Releasing the strategy, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said the plan was “crucial to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to preventing the damaging effects of climate change”.
He said: “The Scottish Government is determined to support a stable, managed transition to a low carbon economy in Scotland, recognising the very real need to decarbonise our heat supplies and transport system. The oil and gas sector will continue to play a vital role during that transition, because our economy will continue to require hydrocarbons over this period.
“In particular, the renewable energy sector, which now employs more than 11,000 people in Scotland, and which has been a major driver of Scotland’s economy in recent years, has the potential to grow even further, helping us meet our climate change targets through extending our success in decarbonising electricity supplies to secure a step-change in decarbonising energy for heat and transport. Through this, we can build the right environment for innovation, investment and the creation of even more high value jobs in Scotland.”
Draft climate change plan sets out the Government’s emission reduction strategy over the next 15 years
New figures show Scotland hit its annual emissions reduction target for 2015, with transport overtaking energy to become the largest emitting sector for the first time
Despite ambitious headline targets, the draft climate change plan is seen as cautious on transport
But GIB chair Lord Smith of Kelvin backed the sale following commitments to uphold GIB's green investment principles and report transparently on its green impact