Scotland urged to 'Raise Ambitions' and commit to 50% renewables target
Industry body Scottish Renewables has called on the country to commit to an ambitious new target of generating at least half of its total energy demands from renewables by 2030.
In a new 'Raise Ambitions' manifesto, released today (13 January), Scottish Renewables sets out how the Scottish Government can support continuous renewables growth and fulfill the potential for a threefold increase in green energy generation to supplement electricity, heat and transport demands across the country.
Scotland currently generates 15% of its energy demand from renewables. New figures suggest this could rise to around 25% by the end of this decade.
Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s ambitious climate change and 2020 renewable energy targets have signalled a clear intent for the country to lead the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“But with only four years to go, it is now time to look beyond 2020 and for Scotland to set a stretching target for renewables to produce the equivalent of at least 50% of all energy use across electricity, heat, and transport by 2030.”
In order to jump-start this accelerated growth in Scotland's renewables sector, the manifesto - launched ahead of May's Scottish Parliament election – lays out the strategic leadership requirements that the next Scottish Government would have to encompass to achieve the 50% goal.
Specifically, the manifesto is also calling for an expanded project array ownership for local communities through a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond, using the public sector as a catalyst for renewable energy growth and increase the uptake of sustainable transport and low-carbon vehicles.
Responding to the manifesto, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "We should build on the great progress Scotland has made in harnessing its massive renewable resources to generate electricity, by doing the same in the key areas of heat and transport. Alongside steps to reduce our overall energy use, we agree that now is precisely the time for Scotland to be setting out bold new targets for all our renewable energy.
"As we approach the Holyrood elections, we call upon all the political parties to set out how they'll grasp the economic and social benefits that will come from embracing the transition to a fully renewable future."
The call for ambitious targets follows on from a huge year for wind and solar power in Scotland.
New data from WeatherEnergy released over the weekend revealed that Scotland's wind energy alone created more than 1,350,000MWh of electricity for the National Grid for the month of December – enough to meet the needs of 148% of Scottish homes and almost two thirds of the countries entire electricity needs.
Overall, wind turbines created enough power to supply more than 100% of Scottish household needs during six months of the year. Wind generated more than 40% of Scotland’s domestic energy needs for 2015.
Solar PV also enjoyed a substantial year, providing enough energy to generate an estimated 50% or more of the electricity needs of an average home in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness across seven months. This included 100% energy generation in April and May.
Recent figures reveal that Scotland generated 32% more electricity from renewables than any other single source of power in 2014.
The news bodes well for the UK renewable sector as a whole. Last week, the National Grid revealed that 2015 was a record-breaking year for UK wind energy. Wind energy alone drove £1.25bn of investment into Britain's economy last year, with the industry now employing 30,500 people.