Scotland's renewable power goal achievable, parliament committee says
Nov 23, 2012 - The Scottish government can achieve its target of generating 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but only if a range of issues are dealt with, according to a report by a parliament committee out today.
The inquiry by the Scottish Parliament's Economy, Energy and Tourism committee made recommendations on issues including access to finance, infrastructure, planning and skills shortage. "Given the influence of the UK Government in energy policy, there are a number of recommendations that will require concerted effort by the two administrations if significant progress is to be made," committee governor Murdo Fraser said.
On access to finance, Fraser said that investors saw strong leadership, as well as a strong and stable investment environment and subsidy regime as crucial for achieving the targets. "The Committee regrets the reluctance of some banks to invest and in the current financial environment, is concerned that the renewables industry will not have access to the finance it needs to grow, which will ultimately put the targets at risk," he added.
On infrastructure, the committee said that the challenges around the grid responding to the increase of renewable electricity and the intermittency of wind power were not insurmountable. It also called on the UK government and UK energy regulator Ofgem to remove a disadvantage for projects in the Scottish islands in relation to the transmission and charging system.
According to the report, there is a risk that the renewable heat target of generating 11% of heat demand from renewables by 2020 could be not be met because of the delayed launch of domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, the controversy around biomass combustion and the obstacles related to district heating schemes.
The committee also said it had received no strong evidence that renewable projects are having an adverse effect on tourism, but recommended continued attention to the issue in view of the importance of the tourism industry.