Scotland commits to 18% renewables

The Scottish Executive has announced its commitment to producing 18% of energy from renewables by 2010, and is urging businesses to adopt energy saving initiatives to combat global warming.

Opening Friends of the Earth Scotland’s first Green Office Exhibition and Seminar, Environment Minister, Sam Galbraith, announced a consultation on the Executive’s renewable energy policy. The Minister also launched Renewable Energy Developments, designed to assist planning authorities in their consideration of development proposals for renewable energy and in balancing development and conservation.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways of saving energy,” said Galbraith. “We waste huge amounts of energy on a daily basis harming not just our profits but our prospects on the planet. The Scottish Executive headquarters at Victoria Quay was built to high standards of environmentally sensitive design. A number of measures have been put in place to minimise energy consumption, to use recycled materials where possible and to recycle as much as we can. Some relatively simple measures that most businesses can adopt.”

“But just doing a bit at home or in the office won’t solve our environment problems,” continued the Minister. “Climate change is a serious matter, perhaps the most serious issue we face. It is right for governments to set a vigorous agenda to reduce its effects. In Scotland we have tremendous potential to generate energy from wind and water. Through hydroelectric schemes and some new wind farms around 11% of Scotland’s electricity is produced in this way. We want that proportion increased to around 18% by 2010.”

Hosting the event, Friends of the Earth have welcomed the announcement. “We think Scotland has a capacity greater than this but it is an important stepping stone to a green energy future,” said Kevin Dunion, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland. “However, we are concerned that energy from waste may be included in this target and we are opposed to the incineration of municipal waste being counted towards Scotland’s renewable energy targets.”

“There is huge wind power capacity still to be developed in the north and south west of Scotland but we need the investment in the grid to strengthen our capacity to carry energy from those sites,” continued Dunion. “At present we do not see how the Renewable Obligations Scotland Scheme will further that investment and the Executive should address this deficiency as a matter of urgency.” Friends of the Earth is also keen that the Executive should support other forms of renewable energy, especially wave power, which, it says, would provide a good backup for wind power.

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