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Scotland can meet renewable electricity targets

A new report has backed Scotland to achieve its target of meeting its electricity needs from renewables as well as other sources by 2020.

According to the Scottish government report, renewable generation will be backed up with thermal generation progressively fitted with carbon capture and storage – ensuring Scotland’s future electricity needs can be met without the need for new nuclear power stations.

The Electricity Generation Policy Statement (EGPS) sets out the Scottish Government’s plans for renewable energy and fossil fuel thermal generation in Scotland’s future energy mix. The report is based on research studies looking at future energy supply, storage and demand.

The statement shows that low carbon energy policies will not only benefit the environment and create jobs, but also lead to lower household bills.

Low carbon energy policies and measures could lead to an average household energy bill of £1,285 by 2020 – whereas carrying on with ‘business as usual’ will lead to bills of £1,379.

The Scottish Government aims to develop an electricity generation mix built around four key principles:

  • A secure source of electricity supply
  • An affordable cost to customers
  • Decarbonised by 2030
  • Achieves the greatest possible economic benefit and competitive advantage for Scotland

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This report shows that the Scottish Government’s target to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables, as well as more from other sources, is achievable.

“We know there is doubt and scepticism about our 100 per cent renewables target, and the financial and engineering challenges required to meet it.

“But we will meet these challenges. I want to debate, engage and co-operate with every knowledgeable, interested and concerned party to ensure we achieve our goals.

“We know our target is technically achievable. Scotland already leads the world in renewable energy, and we have the natural resources and the expertise to achieve so much more.

“The prize at stake for the people of Scotland is huge, in terms of jobs, economic opportunities and lower electricity bills for all.  I am determined to win that prize.”

Alongside the Electricity Generation Policy Statement, an updated publication on energy statistics, Energy in Scotland: A compendium of Scottish Energy Statistics and Information, was published.

SSE chief executive Ian Marchant said: “SSE welcomes the Scottish Government’s electricity generation policy statement.  With energy supply now a global issue, it is vital that the policy objectives adopted at Scottish, UK and EU level are consistent.

“With its focus on energy security, affordability and decarbonisation, this policy statement underlines the extent to which policy objectives are consistent, and it is very encouraging that this should be the case.”

National Grid commercial director Alison Kay said: “Scotland already has the highest proportion of clean power generation across Great Britain, which plays a vital role in keeping the lights on and meeting demand.

“The future energy mix is uncertain and this statement sets out a clear vision for the future of energy in Scotland. It will further enable National Grid and other industry participants to effectively plan the networks of the future.”

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower’s Chief Corporate Officer and CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “ScottishPower supports the commitment to increase low carbon electricity generation in Scotland and we welcome the clarity outlined in the Scottish Government’s policy statement.

“We are making significant investments in large scale renewable energy projects including new wind, wave and tidal power.

“This investment is critical in order to help Scotland achieve its renewable energy targets and will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.”