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According to a recently released report, Scotland is on track to meet its ambitious renewable energy goal of generating 80 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. In the report, Energy Trends, it was revealed that 27 percent of the electricity in 2009 was generated using renewable energy sources. The Scottish government has projected that share of renewable energy sources in power generation would increase to 31 percent in 2011.
Scotland’s renewable energy targets are the most ambitious in the world. While the renewable energy targets set by the European Union is 20 percent by 2020, Scotland has a target of generating 80 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. It also aims at generating all of its electricity from green energy sources by 2025.
Scotland has also announced aggressive carbon emission reduction targets. While the EU continued the deliberations of extending it emission reduction targets from 20 percent to 30 percent by 2020, the Scottish government announced a goal of cutting its carbon emissions’ output by 42 percent by 2020.
The increasing contribution of renewable energy sources in power generation in Scotland can be attributed to the vast resources it is gifted with and to the Scottish government’s support for innovative ideas in cleantech and pro-clean energy policies. The total estimated wind energy resources are about 25 GW and the Scottish government has unveiled several polices to ensure sustained growth of green energy infrastructure.
Among the most notable projects were the installation of floating lily-shaped solar panels in the Clyde river and the subsidies offered to commuters who return used cooking oils for conversion to biofuels to be used in city buses. The Scottish government has been offering subsidies to home and business owners to install rooftop solar panels and wind turbines.
The future for a green Scotland looks highly promising. A study conducted by an independent engineering consultant presented various future scenarios for the Scottish energy sector. The most optimistic scenario among those possibilities predicted that by 2030 Scotland would be able to generate 143 percent of its electricity. This would enable Scotland to export power to England and even mainland Europe. The least optimistic or ‘business as usual’ scenario would see Scotland get 50 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020 which would further increase to 75 to 80 percent by 2030.
Experts believe that such ambitious goals would require massive infusion of capital. At least some help seems to be coming Scotland’s way. The David Cameron government released long stuck funds for building large-scale renewable energy power plants in Scotland. The funds worth £200 million which were released in May 2010 were blocked by the preceding Labor government.
Hopefully, the Scottish plans would inspire other countries as well, especially the European Union, to invest in developing renewable energy resources into long-lasting and sustainable infrastructure which would help economies to expand and nations to prosper.
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.