Scotland Considers a 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030


Scotland has announced plans for 50% of its energy requirement to be provided by renewables by 2030. Renewables already make up 60% of domestic electricity use in Scotland, with over 8GW of capacity currently in place and 12 MW either in planning or awaiting construction (as of Q3 2016). To build on this achievement, the Scottish Parliament wants to establish a strategy that will enable progress in the areas of low-carbon heat and transport.

The plan to increase Scotland’s investment in renewables signifies a move away from its reliance on North Sea oil and gas, which currently supplies 47% of Scotland’s energy and contributes a large part to its economy. The strategy does, however, state that the Scottish government will continue “to support the recovery of North Sea oil and gas as a highly-regulated source of hydrocarbon fuels”.

In addition to setting a target for renewables, the energy strategy looks at a range of technologies and fuels to meet the country’s low-carbon energy needs, with one of these being to support the demonstration and commercialisation of Carbon Capture and Storage and CO2 Utilisation. The Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage research group maintains a global CCS map, which currently shows two pilot schemes and one planned project in Scotland.

The future of shale gas is uncertain in Scotland, which holds a moratorium on fracking. A consultation is expected to be held in the near future.

The proposed strategy delivers the detail of how Scotland will meet an emissions reductions target of 66% over a period of 15 years, as recently published in its draft Climate Change Plan. This followed Scotland having achieved its original target of a 42% reduction, six years earlier than planned. Further low-carbon strategies include the take-up of ultra-low emission cars and heating using low-carbon technologies. It is also planned that 250,000 hectares of peatlands be restored, which can act as a sink for 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2.

The Scottish Government conveyed its plans to work in collaboration with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem in developing the Smart Energy Plan for the UK. It is seeking views on Scotland’s draft strategy by 30th May 2017.

Nikki Wilson

Nikki joined Alfa Energy in September 2015 as a Carbon Management Consultant where she advises clients on legislation, compliance, and the implementation of carbon management schemes. She is a Practitioner member of IEMA, has a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Decision Making, and has over 15 years’ experience in energy consultancy.