By 2030 Scotland’s electricity could be powered almost entirely by renewables and be fossil fuel-free, according to a report backed by WWF Scotland. The research adds that clean energy sources could provide a “secure and stable” alternative for the country.
The first half of 2014 saw renewables become the largest power source in Scotland, beating both nuclear and fossil fuels, in what was described as an important milestone. New investment in hydro and wind power meant that clean energy generation was up 30% in September 2014, when compared to the previous year.
Scotland has a target of meeting 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020, however, coal and gas can still remain on the grid. The 2030 decarbonisation target would see a fossil fuel-free Scotland.
The latest study was conducted by consultancy firm DNV GL and tested the potential of reaching the 2030 goal. A combination of renewable energy generation and improved energy efficiency was found to offer a credible path to achieving the target whilst ensuring that Scotland can continue to export power.
Paul Gardner, from DNV GL and lead author of the report, commented, ”Our technical analysis shows that a system with an extremely high proportion of renewable electricity generation located in Scotland can be secure and stable. There is no technical reason requiring conventional fossil and nuclear generation in Scotland.
“Scotland has plenty of renewables in the pipeline to cut carbon from its power supply by 2030, particularly if we see progress on reducing electricity demand. And crucially, Scotland can continue to be an electricity exporting nation.”
The report also warned that Scotland could miss its climate change targets if it failed to find a safe route to reducing carbon emissions because there is no guarantee that carbon capture and storage will be commercialised and widely available in time.
Gina Hanrahan, WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer, said, “It’s great to see the vision for a secure, renewables-based future for Scotland independently tested and proven. It’s clear that Scotland doesn’t have to generate electricity from coal, gas or nuclear to ensure security of supply.”
Hanrahan added, “The report shows that not only is a renewable, fossil-fuel free electricity system perfectly feasible in Scotland by 2030, it’s actually the safe bet.”
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