A new report based on a poll by climate charity 10:10 states that 80% of Scots are in favour of onshore wind farms, slightly higher when compared to 73% of the rest of the UK. Considering the number of wind turbines in the Scotland this may be viewed as some as surprising.
Speaking of the findings of the poll WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said “It’s great to know that support in Scotland for renewables, especially onshore wind, remains at such high levels. The reality is that when given a choice the public will always support clean renewables over polluting fossil fuels or nuclear power.
“As well as powering our homes and businesses, renewables are helping to cut carbon and support over 20,000 jobs across the country. With such great public support, Ministers should press on to ensure Scotland becomes the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation.”
The renewable energy industry in Scotland employs 21,000 people and invested £910m into the Scottish economy in 2015.
Also a new statistic on renewable electricity from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has shown that more than 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions has been displaced by renewable generation technologies including wind turbines, solar and hydro in 2015.
13 million tonnes equated to 28% of Scotland’s carbon emission output in 2014.
Speaking prior to a Westminster reception held by Scottish Renewables their chief executive Niall Milner spoke of the benefits of renewable energy generation and insisted more is still to be done.
“These new figures show the ever-growing contribution of renewable energy to the fight against climate change.
“Onshore wind has been behind much of the rise in renewable electricity capacity in the last ten years, but we expect both onshore wind and solar to be excluded from the next round of auctions for contracts for low carbon power.
“Both technologies could make a significant contribution to meeting our future climate change targets, keeping bills down for consumers and to driving industrial activity. For all those reasons we believe that both should be able to bid for contracts for clean power in future government auctions.
“We also have considerable headway to make in the decarbonisation of our heat and transport sectors, which together make up almost 80% of the energy we use in Scotland.
“The economic, environmental and social benefits of green energy are clear to see. Climate change means we have to decarbonise our economy and renewable energy can, will and should play a key role in achieving that. But we need supportive policies at Westminster and Holyrood if we are to continue the growth of the sector.”
Lang Banks, speaking of the carbon emission reductions said “It’s fantastic news to learn that record amounts of climate-damaging carbon emissions have been avoided in Scotland thanks to increasing renewable electricity generation.
“These figures highlight just one example of the many social and economic benefits that have come from shifting our electricity system to a clean renewable one. However, with electricity generation now accounting for less than 25 per cent of Scotland’s climate change emissions, it’s now time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors.”
The extensive reduction of Scotland’s carbon emissions shows that renewable energy generation is working where we need it most, creating a cleaner and safer environment for us to live in. This in turn has helped it establish a strong positive feeling with the Scottish people.
However now is not the time to rest on our laurels. Much more can be done to continue to increase our renewable output and reduce our carbon emissions. We have fantastic resources which should be utilised in the best way possible to continue generating energy whilst reducing emissions.
80% of Scots are in favour of onshore wind farms which does not sound like they do not want anymore turbines to us. However the government has to be listening and as Mr Stuart said above has to commit to favourable policies in order to allow the industry to grow and benefits to be reaped.