Holyrood announces new energy strategy - including a bold move to generate half of our needs from renewables
Charities and green groups have welcomed a commitment to generate half of Scotland’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.
The Scottish Government announced the target as it published its draft Scottish Energy Strategy, which ministers claim sets out a “new vision” for a sustainable, low carbon future.
As a first step, £50 million in funding to be awarded to 13 projects, at sites across Scotland, which will demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions.
In building the strategy, ministers will seek the views of the environment sector on a range of issues, including the future of onshore wind development – and the establishing of a Scottish Government-owned energy company.
RSPB Scotland senior policy officer Rebecca Bell, said: “We welcome the ambition shown by the Scottish Government in its energy strategy, particularly the target for 50% of our energy demand to be met from renewable sources by 2030, which is something we and other NGOs have been calling for.
“This transition to a holistic, low-carbon energy system is what we need to meet our international climate commitments, but it needs to be done in a way that does not harm nature.
“There are particular challenges with offshore wind because of the international importance of Scotland’s marine wildlife, but our research has suggested that there may be huge potential for floating wind turbines far offshore – if there is investment in research on the environmental impacts, and support to bring the technology to commercialisation.
“We hope to work with government and developers to ensure that Scotland takes the lead in this area without harming wildlife.”
Gina Hanrahan, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: "We're delighted to see many of our ideas brought forward in this strategy, especially a new target to secure half of all Scotland's energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. The new all energy target sends a strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that Scotland plans to build on its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors.
"A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits. Research shows that generating half of our energy from renewables by 2030 is both necessary and achievable. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to make sure that policies are in place to deliver on this target, which enjoys strong cross-party and public support."
Meanwhile, Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This energy strategy is very welcome, with a strong ambition of transforming electricity, heating and transport. With 50% of all energy to come from renewables by 2030 and 100% of our electricity well before then this plan sets us firmly on course to becoming one of the leading low-carbon nations in the world. We will need to do even more if we are to make our fair contribution to halting climate change.
“Scotland is blessed with abundant clean energy resources and we need to harness the huge energies in the wind, waves and sun. We are already doing very well on electricity but we must build on this and also transform energy use in transport and heating, getting away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels as soon as we can.”
Minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I am very keen to ensure this strategy is infused with the thoughts and views of people from right across Scotland and I would strongly encourage everyone to participate.”