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Renewables policy

Renewable Energy

The Scottish Government is committed to promoting the increased use of renewable energy sources. This commitment recognises renewables' potential to support economic growth.  Renewable energy has a central  role to play in Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy - representing a safer, more secure and cost-effective means of electricity generation than new nuclear plants; reducing our dependence on carbon-intensive fuels; and offering significant economic opportunities. 

It also provides new opportunities to enhance our manufacturing capacity and to provide new employment, not least in the remote and rural areas. This Government has set clear targets for renewable electricity. The First Minister wants renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption by 2020. Similarly, a target has been set for renewables sources to provide the equivalent of 11 per cent of Scotland's heat demand by 2020. Energy statistics are published annually.

An increase in the amount of renewable energy generation (electricity and heat) as a means of reducing carbon emissions could help our efforts to tackle climate change. The Scottish Government's Climate Change Act, sets a target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, including emissions from international aviation and shipping. It also sets a world-leading interim target for a 42 per cent cut in emissions by 2020.

Scotland's pursuit of its huge renewable energy potential has been very successful to date.  Renewables overtook nuclear in volume of electricity output in the first half of 2014, and matched the output from fossil fuel generation a year earlier.

The updated 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland presents actions which are focussed on targets, within the current development of UK regulatory support, arguing constructively for the UK Government to ensure that such support matches Scotland's ambitions.

The Scottish Government wants to see a diverse range of renewable technologies (marine, biomass, solar, onshore & offshore wind, hydro, heat, etc) in our energy mix.  The Electricity Generation Policy Statement (Electricity Generation Policy Statement) further sets out the Scottish Government's views on the role of renewable electricity and fossil fuel thermal generation (coal, gas, oil) in Scotland's future energy mix.

The government is supporting these emerging technologies in a number of ways:

  • Through our Local Challenge Fund (LECF), investing in major demonstrator projects.

  • Through our Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), to support the development and acceleration of low carbon infrastructure projects to investment readiness stage across the public, private and community sectors through a single collaborative integrated approach.

Achieving these targets will be extremely challenging however the Scottish Government believes that our immense natural resources can be used to make a significant contribution towards meeting our, as well as wider UK and European targets.

Scotland's energy map is changing: the outlook is for cleaner, greener, more sustainable energy.