Scotland struggling to reach 100% renewable electricity target

A new report has predicted that Scotland will miss its 100% renewable electricity target for 2020, unless further investment in onshore and offshore wind is supported.

Published today by industry body Scottish Renewables, the report shows that  Scotland is on course to generate the equivalent of 87% of its annual demand for power from renewables by 2020.

However the report did note that there is ‘significant capacity’ to boost that number through onshore and offshore wind farm developments.

Scottish Renewable’s chief executive Niall Stuart said: “The 100% target has provided a powerful focus for government, industry and supporting bodies like HIE and Scottish Enterprise, and really put Scotland’s renewable energy industry on the map.  However, current projections show that we’re not going to meet it unless we get more projects going ahead between now and 2020.

 “There are consented schemes onshore and offshore that could get us there, but they can only go ahead if they are allocated a long term contract for their power.

“If we don’t start the process by next spring, the delay could fatally undermine the timeline for the projects on Scotland’s main island groups, ending prospects for major developments on the Western Isles and Shetland.  It would also raise serious questions about whether the proposed offshore wind projects can make the 2020 deadline.”

Green growth

Supportive policies from Westminster and Holyrood have seen a major transformation in Scotland’s electricity industry. The renewable sector in the country now employs around 21,000 people delivering over £1bn in capital investment annually. The growth of the renewables sector has also seen 12.3 million tonnes of CO2e displaced for 2014.

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “This report makes it clear that the renewables industry urgently needs certainty from the UK Government about future funding if it’s to continue to thrive, create jobs and cut emissions in Scotland.

“However, the good news is that there are more than enough renewables projects in the pipeline to hit our 2020 target if funding is secured.

“Making progress on reducing our demand for power would also help to bring the target within reach, while cutting fuel bills for consumers at the same time. That’s why, as we approach the Holyrood elections, we look to all the political parties to set out how they’d help customers and businesses reduce their demand for electricity.”

Missed targets

The release of the report comes just one day after a leaked letter from the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change admitted that the UK will likely miss its 2020 renewable energy targets and face fines as a result. The 100% target for Scotland is not legally binding and therefore no penalties will be incurred for failing to reach it.

Matt Mace

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