Scotland has ‘no time to lose’ on action to reach net zero climate target

Electric vehicle charging point. Picture: TSPL
Electric vehicle charging point. Picture: TSPL
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Scotland will need to install around 400 electric vehicle charging points and domestic heat pumps every day for the next 25 years to reach its 2045 net zero climate target, according to a new report from electricity providers.

This is part of 4,000 that will need to be fitted per day across the whole of the UK.

The Zero Carbon Communities report, commissioned by ScottishPower, details the changes Scotland and the UK will need to make in order to cancel out greenhouse gas emissions and sets out what this will mean for society.

It warns plans and investments must be put in place now for decarbonisation goals to be met and calls for more power to be devolved to local communities so they can make decisions tailored to their specific needs.

It also advises that all future regulation should have climate targets at its core.

Demand for electricity is forecast to double as the nation switches to greener transport and heating.

The total bill for the transformation, including upgrades to the electricity grid costing £5.2 billion, is estimated to reach £25.3 billion by 2045. But the report argues that much of the work and investment will need to be in place by 2035.

Frank Mitchell, chief executive of ScottishPower’s transmission and distribution arm SP Energy Networks, insists work towards decarbonisation needs to be stepped up.

“To reach net zero every community will need to make changes. And each community will be unique in that journey,” he said.

“This is something we’ve really got to get the pace picked up on, given the 2045 timescale. In reality that’s not a long time.

“We also need to recognise that what’s needed in Glasgow is very different from what’s needed in Edinburgh and what’s needed in Liverpool or London. And we must acknowledge this localisation in the decision-making process and realise a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

“The changes should be made as efficiently and pro-actively as possible to make sure communities are able to get to the target quicker.

“Current regulation means we react to demand rather than get in front of it. That was OK for history, but now we urgently need to help people to embrace a low-carbon future.”

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, added: “We know electricity demand will more than double as we move away from the fossil fuels that power our cars and heat our homes today.

“We all need to do more to address climate change, and this campaign sets out how we think government and the regulator can help communities drive their own transition to zero carbon.

“More power needs to be devolved locally so that communities have a stronger voice in plans to decarbonise their neighbourhoods.”

He added: “Zero Carbon targets may seem like a long way off, but if we’re to work with communities properly to ensure people aren’t left behind by the green transition, the reality is there’s no time to lose.”