Scottish renewables displace record levels of CO2 in 2014
Scotland's renewable energy sector displaced 12.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions last year - a 120% increase since 2010, new data has revealed.
The figures, released yesterday (1 October), were published in response to a recent Parliamentary Question tabled by Callum McCaig and answered by UK Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom.
They confirm that renewable energy projects - including wind, hydro and solar schemes - prevented the release of more than a million tonnes of CO2 per month in 2014. Twenty six million tonnes of carbon was displaced by the renewables industry in England, along with 2.2 million tonnes in Wales.
Scottish Renewables senior policy manager Joss Blamire said: “For the fourth year in a row these figures show an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide which has been displaced by Scotland’s renewable energy industry.
“The figure is equivalent to almost a quarter (23%) of Scotland’s total carbon emissions which is clearly good news for our environment, and is even more impressive when you consider the wider economic and social benefits that the sector brings.
“We regularly hear Amber Rudd [UK Energy Secretary] talk about how committed the Government is to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and meeting carbon targets, but we need to see that being put into action and a long-term plan set out to support the sector’s continued growth.
“With only two months to go, it is more important now than ever before to lead by example and place renewable energy centre stage of the forthcoming climate talks in Paris.”
WWF Scotland welcomed the “fantastic news” and urged Westminster to “change its attitude towards renewables”.
The group’s director Lang Banks said: “There's still much that we can do here in Scotland. With next year’s elections fast approaching, we look to all parties to continue to back Scotland's clean energy transition by supporting the continued deployment of renewables.
“With the right policies in place, Scotland could become the first EU country to have an almost entirely renewable generation system by 2030.”
The Scottish Government has also confirmed this week that it will continue to provide 'grandfathering' subsidy support for small-scale solar projects, following the UK Government’s “misplaced” decision to close the Renewables Obligation.
Commenting on that announcement, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “To maintain a consistency and certainty for a growing industry, I have decided to use the powers I have to retain the status quo until the closure of the Renewables Obligation in April 2016.”
Analysis by the Solar Trade Association (STA), also released yesterday, revealed that the Conservative Government's proposed cuts to the Feed-in Tariff subsidy scheme could leave the solar industry with just £7m of funding over the next three years – a 98% cut.