The 50% renewable target

The 50% renewable target

Industry body Scottish Renewables recently submitted its response to the consultation on Scotland’s draft Energy Strategy, as well as its response to the government’s draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement.

In their response they stated that the draft Energy Strategy shows an ambitious vision for the country’s future energy system but ministers need to back it up with “clear actions.”

Within the draft Energy Strategy, originally released in April, the government set out a target of half of all energy used should be generated from renewable sources. While the new targets have been welcomed by Scottish Renewables, Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager said it is “imperative” that the government provides “clear action plans” to show how these changes can be achieved.

“That certainty – particularly in the heat sector, which faces significant challenges – would provide confidence in market opportunities and help stimulate the private sector investments required for the targets to be met,” she said.

Concerning Onshore Wind, the industry body said it promotes further onshore wind development as “central to achieving our climate change targets at the lowest cost”. It also highlighted key areas where the Scottish Government could affect cost reductions and further facilitate a route to market for the technology, particularly in relation to the planning regime.

Scottish Renewables also highlighted other key areas in the draft Energy Strategy including;

The Scottish Government maximising the use of the devolved policy levers it has available – such as planning, public procurement, building standards, business rates, innovation and project funding – to deliver the Strategy’s aims

The Energy Strategy to target the installation of more than double current levels of renewable energy capacity by 2030, describing this as “a low-regrets option

The introduction of further targets setting out the proportion of heat to be delivered from renewable and low-carbon sources

Support for a refresh of the Scottish Government’s existing transport strategy to maximise the electrification and decarbonisation of the transport system.

Ms Roberts said: “The creation of a 2030 50% ‘all-energy’ target was suggested by Scottish Renewables in our manifesto for last year’s Scottish Parliament election and is supported by all parties in the Scottish Parliament.

“Including that target in the final Energy Strategy would ensure that renewables can play a key role in meeting our climate change targets while maximising the jobs and investment that our sector can bring to Scotland.

“Our response to the consultation also calls for a renewed focus on the decarbonisation of heat and transport – which are crucial if we are to meet our climate change goals – as well as the need to maximise our green energy generation capacity to help deliver this.

“We now look forward to seeing more detail on how the strategy will be delivered in practice and working with the Scottish Government on our joint aims for the future of Scotland’s energy sector.”

With the consultation period for the draft Energy Strategy coming to a close its timing could not have been planned better with National Grid announcement that renewable sources of energy have generated more electricity than coal and gas in the UK for the first time.

They announced that on Wednesday (7th of June) power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of all UK energy. With the addition of nuclear, low carbon sources were producing 72.1% of electricity in the UK by mid-afternoon.

The weather at the time was the perfect combination for renewable energy generation with it being both sunny and windy. Similar weather patterns throughout Northern Europe have meant records for wind power being set across the region.

The National Grid, the body that owns and manages the power supply around the UK, tweeted: “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.” At the time of Wednesday’s record, 1% of demand was met by storage.

“It’s a sign of how things are changing – coal is coming off and renewables are growing,” said Maf Smith, the deputy chief executive of trade body RenewableUK.

To achieve 50% of all energy generated from renewable sources is fantastic and we congratulate all that were involved to reach this milestone. However as noted above there has been a perfect combination of records which brought us to this point this week.

In order to maintain this level of generation more must be done in terms of new policies and projects. This is where we agree with Scottish Renewables proposals and hope that the government takes heed in terms of what is required.

With energy storage set to expand quickly over the coming months and years the opportunity for renewable energy to establish itself as the consistent number one provider of energy in the UK is very real. We just need both government and industry driving in the same direction and an unending supply of clean energy can be realised for all.

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