49.7% of Scotland’s electricity is now being provided by renewable resources making green energy the country’s largest electricity source – the Scottish government had previously set itself the target of achieving 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
It’s a milestone moment – green energy products are the largest generator of electricity in Scotland, responsible for powering 49.7% of the electricity demand. The Energy Minister Fergus Ewing proudly stated, “(This) shows that Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do. Devolved administrations like the Scottish Government will be strong drivers of a progressive climate agenda.
Those will be comforting words for the green industry and the 21,000 people directly employed in this sector who have dealt with considerable pressures as result of changes made to subsidies by the Conservative government since coming to power in May. Ewing pledged the support of the SNP to “harness and bolster Scotland’s renewable potential” as a means of securing the country’s future energy supply.
Indeed getting to this point was almost the easy part, according to Scottish Renewables’ chief Joss Blamire, “While we are now almost half way to our 2020 goal of producing the equivalent of 100% of our electricity from renewables, the second half of the target is going to be much harder to achieve than the first.” That’s a sentiment echoed by WWF Scotland which is calling on all Scottish parties to demonstrate in their manifestos how they will support consumers and businesses in reducing demand on fossil fuels.
The UK Government has yet to reveal any change of direction from that it displayed prior to the talks in Paris. The Department of the Environment and Climate Change welcomed the statistics and the fall in bills for consumers and acknowledged the drop in emissions which you would think would precipitate an announcement of renewed support. You never know, it might be coming.
There’s no denying that Scotland is punching well above its weight. It’s a source of envy to some parts of the world. Australia has a target of 22.5% by 2020 – Opposition leader Bill Shorten wants to have it raised to 50% by 2030 but said it’d never stand a chance with the current government.
There appear to be few limits to the ambitions of the sector. However there are others far exceeding this – such as Costa Rica which is generating 99% of electricity from renewables, Uruguay which is generating 95% and recently Denmark got 140$ of its electricity demand from wind power. In a world captivated and made anxious by the war within OPEC, this is some welcome respite.