Scotland sets 50% renewable energy target

The Scottish Executive has upped its target and now aims to see 50% of the country's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020, up from a previous target of 40%.

The executive has also set an interim target of 31% by 2011.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said the target was now more transparent and challenging, as it takes account of transmission losses between the source of electricity and consumers, and would increase confidence in Scotland’s renewables industry.

“In setting this ambitious 50% target the Scottish Government is encouraging the development of low carbon technologies such as renewable energy, micro-generation, combined heat and power, carbon capture and storage while pursuing greater energy efficiency savings,” said Mt Mather.

“Scotland is already a world leader in the energy and engineering sectors and is known for its innovation and talent.

“Harnessing this talent to generate more renewable energy will give us a vibrant energy sector that makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s future prosperity and help build increased, sustainable economic growth.

“The absence of new nuclear power stations in our energy mix will not cause an energy gap in a Scotland as we have the natural resources and ingenuity to become a non-nuclear energy exporter.

“Meanwhile, we believe that the risks and uncertainties of nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are far too great.

“We do not, however, want renewable energy – whether it be onshore wind, tidal power or other developments – anywhere or at any price to the environment.

“For onshore wind we have asked local authorities to prepare guidance including designating suitable areas and we are beginning work to identify locational issues for marine energy too. There is much more to come from renewables in the next few years.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the new targets.

The NGO’s chief executive, Duncan McLaren, said: “These targets are great news for Scotland’s environment and good news for the Scottish economy.

“These are ambitious but realistic targets and show that Scotland is at last capitalising on its wealth of renewable resources. With these targets Scotland will become a world leader in low carbon electricity generation.”

Sam Bond

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