Just last year, Scotland missed its target of generating 100% renewable energy for its power demand. (Image Credit: Kai Alyssa Bossom/Unsplash)
Example for the whole world? In 2020, Scotland nearly met its target of generating 100% renewable energy for its power demand. According to new figures, the country managed to produce 97.4% of its electricity from renewables. That target was set in 2011 when Scotland's power demand reached 37% from renewables. Industry body Scottish Renewables stated that output tripled over the past decade, which was enough to supply seven million homes with power.
Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack said: "Scotland's climate change targets have been a tremendous motivator to the industry to increase deployment of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy projects are displacing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon every year, employing the equivalent of 17,700 people and bringing enormous socio-economic benefits to communities."
According to Scottish Government figures, Scotland met 90.1% of its energy consumption from renewable technologies. Now, with its Climate Change Bill, the country has the world's most ambitious target: reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.
Ministers hope that renewable energy generation accounts for 50% of power demand across electricity, heat, and transportation by 2030.
Mack added: "Domestic and commercial transport accounts for almost 25% of the energy used in Scotland, with heat making up more than half, as well as more than half of its emissions. Currently, 6.5% of our non-electrical heat demand is generated from renewable sources. Industry and Government must continue to work together if we are to fully realize our potential to meet net-zero by 2045."
Scotland is phasing out fossil fuels and has already shut down its last coal-fired power station, Longannet, in 2016. Only one gas-fired power station is still operating at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.
Scotland's primary sources of renewable power come from onshore wind, which supplies 70% of capacity, followed by hydro and offshore wind. WWF Scotland said more emissions need to be cut from transportation and heating. Holly O'Donnell, climate and energy policy manager, said electric vehicles need to be rolled-out quickly, and renewable heating in Scotland must be funded.
The Scottish Government expects to gain £860m from an upcoming auction of the country's seabed plots for windfarms after increasing the maximum bid limit. Crown Estate Scotland planned on capping the amount developers could offer for a seabed lease at £10,000 per km2, but now that new rules have been implemented, the bidding can be raised to £100,000 per km2.
Ørsted, a Denmark-based energy firm, is competing in the auction for the 8,600 km2 Scottish seabed plots, which are sufficient to build wind farms that could power every Scottish household. It could also save over 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The increased cap decision came after the crown estate's auction generated up to £9 billion over the next decade from energy firms like BP, hoping to build turbines along England and Wales coasts. These record-breaking bids were five times higher than forecasted for specific plots. Considering the results, the Scottish property manager agreed with Scottish ministers to delay the auction while they reviewed the rules.
Successful developers are required to fund the winning bid to the crown estate every year as rent while they build their wind farms. For Scotland, the sum is a one-time fee to secure the lease. Scotland's energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said this increased cap balances the rising value and demand for Scotland's seabed with the need to secure a strong offshore wind supply chain. This can help to power the green recovery from COVID-19 while attaining the net-zero goal.
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