Holyrood sets 50% target
Energy plan marks shift to renewables
A marked shift towards green fuel supplies was unveiled in a draft energy paper from the Scottish government.
While remaining committed to the oil industry it wants half of the country’s heat, transport and electricity needs to come from renewable sources by 2030.
The draft Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a vision for 2050 for Scotland to have a modern, integrated energy system that delivers reliable, low carbon energy at affordable prices to consumers in all parts of Scotland.
The government is due to announce details of up to £50 million in funding to 13 projects across Scotland which will demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions.
As well as setting ambitious targets the draft Scottish Energy Strategy also seeks views on a number of issues including the development of onshore wind and emerging energy sources and technologies such as hydrogen.
There will be a renewed focus on energy efficiency – taking a targeted approach to reducing demand and transforming homes and businesses and the delivery of smart local energy system.
A Scottish Government owned energy company is proposed as well as renewable energy bonds.
Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “The decisions we make about Scotland’s energy future are among the most important choices we face as a society.
“Safe, reliable and affordable energy underpins the continued growth of the Scottish economy, and safeguards the delivery of key services upon which individuals and communities depend.
“The Scottish Government is determined to support a stable, managed transition to a low carbon economy in Scotland, recognising the very real need to decarbonise our heat supplies and transport system.
“The oil and gas sector will continue to play a vital role during that transition, because our economy will continue to require hydrocarbons over this period.”
The consultation will run until 30 May.
Scottish Labour economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “I welcome the government’s 50% target for renewables, which was a commitment in Labour’s manifesto at the last election.
“This target is ambitious and rightly so, but the challenge will be in implementation. Too often the SNP sets targets but doesn’t follow through with action to deliver on them.
“Scotland has previously been required to import energy from elsewhere in the UK, particularly baseload power from England. Yet the SNP’s energy strategy provides little detail about how to keep the lights on. It’s clear that being part of the UK single energy market is essential to Scotland’s energy future.”
The Scottish Conservatives accused the government of not investing anywhere near enough in improving home energy efficiency.
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said: “Every Scot deserves a warm home during winter, but the SNP have failed to provide the help that is needed.
“Well over half of Scottish homes aren’t energy efficient, and with so many people living in fuel poverty we can’t afford to just stand by.
“That’s why we want to see £1 billion invested by 2021 in a warm homes policy, to ensure that all homes are up to standard by the end of the next decade.”
Industry body Scottish Renewables welcomed the plan. Jenny Hogan (above), director of policy, said: “This is a landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
“The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy.
“Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost.
“While ambitious, the target is achievable but absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish Governments.”