There is a ‘real opportunity’ for the NHS, councils and other public sector organisations to reduce spending and carbon emissions
Scotland’s public sector has the potential to lead the next stage of the country’s green energy evolution, according to industry body Scottish Renewables.
Local authorities, NHS Boards, National Park Authorities, enterprise agencies, emergency services and other public organisations could all play a key role in Scotland meeting its future climate change targets – including switching to using more renewable power, heat and transport.
Launching a set of priority recommendations as the Scottish Government drafts its new Energy Strategy, Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “While significant progress has been made already, there’s a real opportunity here to make further significant changes to the way Scotland generates and uses energy.
“Public bodies can use their planning, procurement and economic development powers to lead Scotland’s transition to a truly low-carbon, sustainable energy system.
“Greening Scotland’s infrastructure and public estates can offer huge benefits in stabilising energy bills, creating jobs, investing in the local economy and cleaning up the environment.
“Local authorities such as North Ayrshire Council have shown how a determination to make the most of our abundant renewable energy resources can make a real contribution towards Scotland’s climate change goals, but there’s much more still to be done.”
Scottish Renewables’ publication ‘Renewed Ambitions: A Plan for Renewable Energy in Scotland’ contains measures designed to “set a clear vision for the future of our energy sector”.
Among these measure are:
• Set a target for at least 50% of Scotland’s energy needs to come from renewable sources in 2030
• Create the conditions to at least treble renewable heat output by 2030
• Create the conditions to at least double the current installed capacity of renewable electricity generation by 2030
• Maximise the electrification and decarbonisation of the transport system
• Become a world-leading centre of excellence and expertise in emerging renewable energy technologies and integrated energy systems
• Widen the benefits of renewables by growing the Scottish supply chain and developing a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond
• Ensure Scotland’s public sector leads the next chapter of our energy evolution
Jenny Hogan, Scottish Renewables’ Director of Policy, continued: “Scotland’s previous climate change targets have provided a hugely powerful focus for government and industry and helped create the green energy industry we have today.
“A new target – for at least 50% 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.
“It also gives us the opportunity of delivering the significant economic and social benefits which development in those areas can bring.
“Changes in our energy system such as the increasing use of energy storage, together with emerging renewable energy technologies like green gas, tidal and wave energy, provide opportunities for Scotland to lead the world.
“The Energy Strategy is a real opportunity for the Scottish Government and the whole public sector to build on success to date and retain Scotland’s place at the forefront of renewable energy development – creating jobs, keeping bills down and combating climate change.”