Scotland set to miss renewables goal

A new report from Scottish Renewables has warned that Holyrood is set to miss its target of 100% renewable electricity by 2020 without further investment in onshore and offshore wind.

The report shows Scotland is on course to generate the equivalent of 87% of its annual demand for power from renewables by 2020, and highlights the need for further support from the UK Government if the target is to be met.

The 2020 renewable target was established in 2011 by former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and is not legally binding. 

“The 100% target has provided a powerful focus for government, industry and supporting bodies like HIE and Scottish Enterprise, and really put Scotland’s renewable energy industry on the map,” said Scottish Renewables Chief Executive, Niall Stuart. 

“However, current projections show that we’re not going to meet it unless we get more projects going ahead between now and 2020.

“There are consented schemes onshore and offshore that could get us there, but they can only go ahead if they are allocated a long term contract for their power.

“The industry had expected an auction round for contracts this autumn, but UK ministers postponed that, and we are still unsure if and when that will go ahead which is inevitably impacting on investor confidence across the industry.

“If we don’t start the process by next spring, the delay could fatally undermine the timeline for the projects on Scotland’s main island groups, ending prospects for major developments on the Western Isles and Shetland.  It would also raise serious questions about whether the proposed offshore wind projects can make the 2020 deadline.”

The Scottish Government’s targets are also separate to the EU energy targets, which were mentioned yesterday at the Energy Select Committee in Westminster.

"Recent announcements by the UK Government represent an attack on the renewables sector, creating huge uncertainty for investors, developers and communities, and undermining Scotland’s ability to fulfill its renewable energy potential,” said Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. 

“Our renewables targets are ambitious and challenging and I am pleased we have seen almost half of our electricity demand coming from renewable sources in 2014. However, I share Scottish Renewables’ concerns that the damaging and premature cuts to support for renewable energy being driven through by the UK Government will hamper future progress.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues