Scotland unveils new target of 50% green electricity by 2015
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday announced an ambitious plan to provide 50% of the country’s power demands from renewable sources by 2015.
Mr Salmond praised the ‘rapid success’ of the green energy sector in Scotland in recent months. UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) statistics show that Scotland met 35% of its electricity demand from wind, wave and tidal sources in 2011. The governments' target was 31% for the year.
The production of renewable energy has long been a central tenet of Mr Salmond’s Scottish National Party, and today’s events only serve to reinforce his commitment to the cause.
He has pledged that by 2020, 100% of Scottish electricty will come from renewables, no doubt in order to attract voters towards Scottish independence from the rest of the UK in 2014’s referendum.
Speaking at Renewable UK’s conference in Glasgow, Mr Salmond said; "Today, Scotland is producing almost 14GWh, or 35% of its electricity consumption, and we can announce a new interim target of 50% of electricity from renewables by 2015.
"The target is ambitious but achievable. It is based on projects already consented. It doesn't depend on any new consents, although I can assure you will there will be more consents."
He went on to describe the “massive economic opportunity” that further investment in the sector would create, with growth there helping strengthen the Scottish economy.
Currently 11,000 people are employed within the country’s many green energy projects, with £2.3bn of private investment recorded in the past year.
Offshore wind alone could support 28,000 jobs by 2020 if current plans go ahead.
Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at WWF Scotland backed the proposals, saying, “The introduction of a new interim renewable target is welcome and will help maintain momentum towards our 100 per cent renewable goal."
However, he warned that "It’s vital we build on this progress with similar ambition aimed at improving energy efficiency in our homes and tackling emissions from transport in order to deliver a truly low carbon Scotland.”