Scotland to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate renewables

Scotland announced its new energy strategy yesterday setting out the government’s 25-year vision for the energy sector.

A key proposal is for a presumption against oil and gas exploration and the discontinued use of fossil fuels to generate power.  

‘We are opposed to the continued use of unabated fossil fuels to generate electricity,’ the draft strategy reads. ‘This draft sets out our support for the fastest possible just transition for the sector.’

The strategy also opposes the extraction of coal, as well as the development of new nuclear plants, which the Scottish government says offers poor value to customers. In 2017, it was revealed that consumers are set to subsidise the building of Somerset’s Hinkley Point C until 2060.

Scotland is planning to increase renewable electricity capacity by 2030, with an extra 12 GW for onshore wind, ambitions for 8-11 GW of offshore wind and further aims to develop the solar, marine, hydrogen and hydro power.

red and black metal tower during sunset

Most notably ScotWind’s offshore leasing round will deliver an increase of 27.6 GW of capacity, more than doubling the current renewable capacity in operation.

The drive in the renewable sector could create 77,000 jobs for Scots by 2050, according to the strategy, with £100 million earmarked to support the growth green industries and careers.

Scottish Net-Zero and Energy Secretary Michel Matheson said: ‘At a time of unprecedented uncertainty in our energy sector, accelerating the transition towards becoming a renewables powerhouse makes sense for a number of reasons – particularly to helping to mitigate against future global market volatility and the high energy prices which are making life so difficult for so many people across Scotland.’

There are also aims to phase out petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, to establish Heat and Energy Efficiency Scotland to help decarbonise homes and buildings, and for 2 GW of community owned energy to be soured by 2030.

However, campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland (FOE Scot) said the strategy was ‘chock full of existing commitments’ which would not meet climate targets and the government had ‘shied away from taking big decisions’, such as setting a date for fossil fuels to be phased out by.

FOE Scot’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: ‘The draft strategy misses an open goal by failing to dramatically ramp up action on energy efficiency and public transport which can help improve lives, cut bills and deliver on climate commitments.

‘The Scottish Government must reject the dodgy technology of carbon capture and storage and fossil hydrogen which is being pushed by the profiteering oil and gas industry who want to keep us locked into this harmful system.’

The group also said ‘a huge dose of realism’ was needed on job estimates, a sentiment echoed by the Scottish Conservative energy spokesman, Liam Kerr, who said the government could not effectively show how 77,000 jobs would be created.

Photo by Maria Lupan


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