Scotland Called to Set 50% Renewable All Energy Target after “Landmark” year

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Environmental and industry groups said today that Scottish Ministers should set a new target that by 2030 half of all energy used in Scotland across electricity, heat and transport should come from renewables.

The call by WWF Scotland and trade body Scottish Renewables comes in the wake of what they call a “landmark” year for renewables in Scotland.

The groups also published a synopsis of key Scottish renewables achievements of 2016, which include:

  • World firsts: World’s first fully operational array of tidal power turbines off Shetland; World’s largest tidal turbine trialed in Orkney; First power generated from what will hopefully become the world’s biggest tidal power scheme in the Pentland Firth.
  • Record-setting: For the first time on record, wind turbines generate more electricity than was used in the whole of Scotland on a single day; Scotland’s biggest solar farm began operation in Tayside; The UK’s largest community rooftop solar project completed in Edinburgh.
  • Innovation: Plans submitted for a ‘kite power’ station near Stranraer; Two separate proposals for floating wind farms off Peterhead and Dounreay; A pumped storage hydro scheme using seawater instead of freshwater proposed for Lewis; Plans to heat homes and businesses in Shetland, Clydebank and Glasgow from the sea and river water unveiled.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:

“2016 was without doubt a landmark year for renewables in Scotland, with several world firsts achieved, new records set, and amazing innovation shown. With almost three-fifths of our electricity needs now being met from renewable sources Scotland is truly blazing a trail globally for pollution-free power.

“However, following the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, we can and should go much further. Analysis has shown that a 50 per cent renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030 is not only needed, but that it is achievable. Ministers should now make this a Scottish Government target and bring in the policies needed in its forthcoming energy strategy.”

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said:

“It’s been a truly remarkable year for renewables in Scotland, and our industry continues to help cut carbon emissions and support tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

“Many of these achievements are being driven by Scotland’s existing renewables and climate change targets, but with significant challenges facing the sector and a need to set out a clearer path, the time is now right to extend our horizons beyond 2020.

“In particular, a new target for at least 50 per cent of Scotland’s energy needs to come from renewable sources in 2030 would enable us to continue to build on the economic and environmental benefits our industry is already delivering.

“While renewables are now Scotland’s leading source of electricity, we have only just begun to address the need to reduce the carbon emissions from our heat and transport sectors.

“The Scottish Government’s planned new Energy Strategy gives us a chance to make the radical changes required in both if we are to get anywhere close to meeting our future climate change targets.”