Producing half of Scotland’s energy needs using renewable energy technology by 2030 is an achievable goal, according to a new report published today.
Environmental organisations have urged the Scottish Government to adopt the target and bring forward policies to make it a reality.
Based on independent analysis by Ricardo Energy and Environment, the report by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland has set out how Scotland’s climate targets could be met in the most cost-effective way. It found that to achieve these goals half of all the country’s energy will need to come from renewables by the end of next decade.
It suggested that two-fifths of Scotland’s homes will be heated from renewable sources, with a Warm Homes Act helping to ensure access to cleaner, more affordable heat.
A national energy efficiency programme should help reduce energy use in homes by 30%, while millions of homes across the country will have to be insulated, the report added.
One in three cars and half of all buses should be electric, with almost all electricity generated from renewables.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This report shows that a 50% renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030 is not only needed, but that it is achievable.
“Ministers should now make this a Scottish Government target and bring in the policies needed in its forthcoming energy strategy.
“Doing so would enable Scotland to enjoy the many economic and social benefits that the report suggests would take place as a result of generating half of all our energy needs from renewables.
“Scotland is already seeing the economic and social benefits of shifting our electricity systems to clean, climate-friendly, renewables generation.
“However, with electricity accounting for just one quarter of our energy use, it’s time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors.”
The Scottish Government has already achieved a target to reduce emmissions by at least 42% by 2020. It also aims to generate 100% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Responding to the report, chief executive of Scottish Renewables Niall Stuart said it was time to “lift our horizons and set an ambitious target to drive investment in renewable heat, power and transport through the 2020s.”
he added: “This report echoes Scottish Renewables’s call for a new 50% renewable energy target and, importantly, concludes that this is both achievable and key to meeting our climate change targets.”
The Scottish Government will publish its third climate change plan in the new year, setting out how it intends to meet emissions targets between now and 2032 and work towards a long-tern reduction of 80% on 1990 levels by 2050.
It will also publish a new energy strategy looking at the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government welcomes this report, which is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate around the future of energy in Scotland.”