Scotland’s power could be ‘entirely renewables-based by 2030’

Scotland's electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables by 2030, with no need for gas, coal or nuclear power stations, according to a new report from WWF Scotland.

The report, Pathways to Power: Scotland’s route to clean, renewable, secure electricity by 2030, suggests that decarbonising the power sector is the ‘cheapest, most effective pathway to hitting legally-binding climate targets.’ (Scroll down for full report)

Key recommendations

WWF Scotland makes nine recommendations for Government to ensure a smooth path to a renewables-based electricity system by 2030:

1) Scotland doesn’t need any fossil fuel power stations operating by 2030 so the Scottish Government shouldn’t consent to new plants as CCS-ready

2) The Scottish Government shouldn’t grant life extensions for nuclear plants into the 2030s

3) The UK Government should stop incentivising coal

4) The UK Government needs to make Electricity Market Reform work better for offshore wind

5) The UK Government must show strong ambition for renewables growth and clarity about future market for renewables post-2020 as soon as possible so as to drive investment

6) The UK and Scottish Governments must work with industry to ensure that the wave and tidal sectors are adequately supported

7) The UK and Scottish Governments must continue working with industry towards a solution to the problem of affordable and timely grid connection for the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland

8) Greater effort is needed from the UK and Scottish Governments on electricity demand reduction as it requires less new generation capacity to achieve power sector decarbonisation

9) The UK and Scottish Governments need to work with industry to incentivise investment in pumped storage

Renewables-based future

WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer Gina Hanrahan said: “It’s great to see the vision for a secure, renewables-based future for Scotland independently tested and proven. It’s clear that Scotland doesn’t have to generate electricity from coal, gas or nuclear to ensure security of supply. 

“We’d still like to see CCS tested at Peterhead, but given how slowly this technology is progressing, it makes sense to explore alternative paths to achieving the Government’s own target. The report shows that not only is a renewable, fossil-fuel free electricity system perfectly feasible in Scotland by 2030, it’s actually the safe bet. 

“Pursuing this pathway would allow Scotland to maintain and build on its position as the UK and Europe’s renewable powerhouse, cut climate emissions and continue to reap the jobs and investment opportunities offered by Scotland’s abundant renewable resources. 

“We’ve seen renewables go from strength to strength in recent years. They are now the biggest electricity generator in Scotland, outstripping nuclear, coal and gas. 

“We need to see the phasing out of conventional generation in Scotland, clarity about the future market for renewables across the UK and more emphasis on demand reduction and storage in Scotland so the vision can be achieved.”

Lead author of the report Paul Gardner added: “Our technical analysis shows that a system with an extremely high proportion of renewable electricity generation located in Scotland can be secure and stable. There is no technical reason requiring conventional fossil and nuclear generation in Scotland.

“Scotland has plenty of renewables in the pipeline to cut the carbon from its power supply by 2030, particularly if we see progress on reducing electricity demand. And crucially, Scotland can continue to be an electricity exporting nation.”

REPORT: Pathways to power – Scotland’s route to clean, renewable, secure electricity by 2030

Lois Vallely

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