Greens secure solar power boost for Scotland
Companies are being encouraged to invest in solar energy after the Scottish Greens secured a commitment from the Scottish government for at least four gigawatts to be delivered.
Scottish Greens Co-leader Lorna Slater told her party’s conference in Dunfermline that the move would give Scotland’s growing solar industry the confidence they need to invest, create jobs, and help accelerate the transition to green energy.
The support will be contingent on the industry itself committing to delivering appropriate levels of community benefit and biodiversity standards for commercial developments.
Her announcement also meets a recommendation from the solar energy sector itself which had been asking for a clear pathway for this level of deployment, which it said previously could create up to 6,000 skilled jobs.
Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “This is good news for industry, good news for bill payers, and good news for our climate.
“Unlike what we are seeing at Westminster, with Scottish Greens in government we are supporting the renewable sector as we drive towards a Just Transition, cheaper and cleaner energy and a truly sustainable future where we are leading from the front.
“This is a vital part of safe, secure and greener energy supply for the future and I hope that will be welcomed by industry leaders and campaigners alike.”
Thomas McMillan, chair of Solar Energy Scotland, said: “The delivery of 4 to 6 GWs of solar in Scotland by 2030 will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and help tackle the cost of living crisis.
“As a modular technology, solar is by far, the most affordable and accessible renewable energy technology, it can be installed on residential buildings, commercial buildings, carports or as a ground mounted system as a solar farm.”
“Setting a clear target for solar will benefit the industry, boosting investment and will ensure coherent action and direction across many policy areas, ranging from planning decisions on projects to creating green economic opportunities for people across Scotland.
“The Scottish Government has listened and acted, and we applaud them for that. Vision, ambition, and action are the three essential ingredients that are required in political leadership to address the climate crisis.”
The Scottish Government is also exploring options for councils to introduce a local carbon or land tax levy to encourage more action on climate and nature.
Ms Slater, describing the tax as “huge and game-changing”, said it could incentivise landowners to restore their degraded peatlands and create more woodland.
In 2019 the Scottish Parliament passed the landmark climate change act, influenced heavily by the Scottish Greens at the time.
Ms Slater also launched a new consultation for communities bidding to bring Scotland’s next National Park to their area, which will further strengthen Scottish Government efforts to tackle environmental issues head on.