Analysis finds energy sector must be 'transformed' to meet current climate targets
Half of Scotland’s energy could come from renewable sources by 2030, according to fresh analysis.
A report published this week states Scotland can meet current climate targets, but only if 50% of all energy used in the country comes from renewables by the end of next decade.
The analysis, by consultants Ricardo Energy and Environment, identifies a number of key actions that must be taken to reach that target.
These include heating 40% of Scottish homes by renewable energy; pushing through a national efficiency programme to reduce energy use by 30%; and generating almost all electricity from renewable sources.
Any way you look at it, a rapid transition to renewable energy makes sense
Meanwhile, one in three cars, and half of all buses, should be electric, with a long-term plan to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles entirely, the report states.
It goes on to list a number of “welcome benefits” including the creation of new jobs, warmer, healthier homes, and cleaner air, helping reduce the burden on the NHS.
The analysis, for WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland, comes as the Scottish Government develops a new energy strategy.
Colin McNaught, managing consultant at Ricardo Energy and Environment said the analysis was the “most sophisticated model yet” for what Scotland’s energy system will look like in 2030 if climate targets are to be met.
He added: “A major transformation across all the energy sectors will need to take place, but the technologies are already available and Scotland has the renewable resources to supply them.”
Lang Banks, WWF Scotland director, said: “This report shows that a 50% renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030 is not only needed, but that it is achievable.
“Ministers should now make this a Scottish Government target and bring in the policies needed in its forthcoming energy strategy.
Doing so would enable Scotland to enjoy the many economic and social benefits that the report suggests would take place as result of generating half of all our energy needs from renewables.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added: “This report shows that investing in tackling climate change brings many other benefits, including helping create jobs in low-carbon sectors, improving people’s living conditions and cleaning up the toxic traffic pollution that blights our towns and cities.
“Any way you look at it, a rapid transition to renewable energy makes sense.”
Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, claimed the country’s transport strategy had been “stuck in neutral” since 1990.
He said: “We need to level the playing field so that public transport, cycling and walking can compete with the private car, and have a long-term strategy that clearly shows how all transport will shift over to low-carbon.”
Alexa Morrison, senior policy officer at RSPB Scotland, welcomed the report’s findings.
“Bringing down the emissions of our whole energy system, including strong action on heat and transport, is crucial to protect our natural environment from climate change,” she said.
“We know that, if we plan the roll out of renewables carefully to avoid our most sensitive places for wildlife, we can meet these targets in harmony with nature.”