Scotland moves away from oil with 50% renewable target by 2030
The draft Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a long-term vision for the entire energy system and is aligned with green goals laid out in the latest Climate Change Plan.
The plan set a new target for a 66 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2032. A key step in the process is to decarbonise the energy system.
The strategy sets out how Scotland can achieve a modern, integrated energy system that delivers reliable, affordable, low-carbon power to people in all parts of the country.
It includes the goal for for 50 per cent of total the country’s energy needs to come from renewables. The current figure is 15.2 per cent, with oil and gas providing 75 per cent.
The document, which is open for public consultation until 30 May, outlines continuing support for North Sea oil and gas exploration as well as plans to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to clean up polluting power plants and industry.
It also highlights the importance of reducing demand, improving energy-efficiency and increasing schemes such as district heating.
Other aims include stepping up moves to greener transport, which accounts for 25 per cent of consumption.
“The decisions we make about Scotland’s energy future are among the most important choices we face as a society,” said energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.
“Safe, reliable and affordable energy underpins the continued growth of the Scottish economy and safeguards the delivery of key services upon which individuals and communities depend. Achieving our vision is also crucial to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to preventing the damaging effects of climate change.”
The new targets have been welcomed by campaigners.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “We are already doing very well on electricity but we must build on this and also transform energy use in transport and heating, getting away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels as soon as we can. The Strategy shows that we have no need to build new nuclear reactors or rely on shale gas extracted at great cost to communities.”
A consultation on unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking, is due to be launched next week. A moratorium on fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has been in place for the past two years to allow scientific evidence of its impacts to be gathered.
Mr Wheelhouse confirmed that underground coal gasification, a controversial technique that involves setting fire to coal seams under the seabed to collect gas trapped inside, will not be allowed to take place in Scotland.