Scotland’s Government has published its draft energy strategy vision through 2050, which includes a target to deliver the equivalent of 50% of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport, and electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030.
The draft of the Scottish Energy Strategy was published on Tuesday, and set out a vision for Scotland “to have a modern, integrated energy system that delivers reliable, low carbon energy at affordable prices to consumers in all parts of Scotland.” The draft is now in a consultation process, and Scotland is also set to support its vision when, next month, it announces details of up to £50 million it will provide in funding for 13 projects across Scotland
“The decisions we make about Scotland’s energy future are among the most important choices we face as a society,” said Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy. “Safe, reliable and affordable energy underpins the continued growth of the Scottish economy, and safeguards the delivery of key services upon which individuals and communities depend. Achieving our vision is also crucial to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to preventing the damaging effects of climate change, as part of the global community’s fight to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius or less.”
The 2050 vision also includes an interim goal for 2030, in which an “all energy” target has been set to deliver “the equivalent of 50% of Scotland’s heat, transport, and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources.”
The draft consultation process is also actively seeking views on a number of issues which it will incorporate into a final vision. These include:
- The future of onshore wind development in Scotland — reinforcing Scottish Ministers’ commitment to this now well-established technology and setting an ambition to make Scotland the first area in the UK to host subsidy-free onshore wind
- Innovation in offshore wind, including floating wind, will play a significant role in positioning Scotland as a world center for energy innovation
- The steps Scottish Government can take to support the full range of renewable electricity generation technologies to both meet domestic electricity demand and to provide economic opportunities for Scotland and opportunities for communities to invest
- The importance of security of supply, grid investment and the role for large-scale storage, such as pumped hydro storage
- The development and use of emerging energy sources and technologies — like hydrogen, for the provision of transport, moving away from petrol
- A renewed focus on energy efficiency — taking a targeted approach to reducing demand and transforming homes and businesses across Scotland, including through investment in district heating
- The delivery of smart local energy systems – overcoming grid constraints and providing local solutions to local needs
- Establishment of a Scottish Government-owned energy company and its potential remit in meeting Scotland’s energy needs
- The potential role for renewable energy bonds
“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,” continued Wheelhouse. “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.”
These first steps have been welcomed by Scottish trade groups, but there are also concerns that the vision doesn’t push far enough.
“This is a landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” explained Jenny Hogan, Scottish Renewables’ Director of Policy. “The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy.”
“Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost,” she added. “While ambitious, the target is achievable but absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish Governments.”
Meanwhile, Gina Hanrahan, Climate and Energy Policy Officer at WWF Scotland, expressed WWF’s ‘delight’ in the vision, but warned that more needs to be done:
“The new information published today fails to put enough meat on the bones of the Scottish Government’s commitment to transform the energy efficiency of existing homes. With 1.5 million cold homes in Scotland, these proposals are too slow and underfunded, especially when greater investment could create up to 9,000 jobs across the country. Ministers must set an objective for a new programme supporting all homes to reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate ‘C’ band by 2025.”
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