Environmental pressure groups publish green ‘Scottish energy strategy’ to de-carbonise heating and transport sectors

green-saltireThree environmental pressure groups have published their combined new ‘green’ Scottish energy strategy for the Scot-Govt.

The new Scottish energy strategy is the main ‘to do’ item in his in-tray for Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse and – according to WWF Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland – doing nothing is not an option.

Earlier this year, the UK govt. advisory Committee on Climate Change provided advice on Scotland’s next set of climate targets, recommending that a 66% reduction in gross emissions be achieved by 2030.

The independent report was commissioned from Ricardo Energy & Environment and University College London to look specifically at what is required of the Scottish energy system – in particular heat, transport and electricity – to meet this ambition

It examined the three main power-consumer areas and concludes: “2030 will be an important milestone on Scotland’s journey to a low-carbon economy.

“Our evidence shows that to deliver Scotland’s climate targets at lowest cost and maximum benefit, a minimum of 50% of our energy across the electricity, heat and transport sectors will need to come from renewables by 20301.

“But on our current trajectory, less than 30% will be achieved, and climate targets will be missed. Our evidence illustrates how this low-carbon future is both achievable and desirable, poses a low risk to wildlife, and sets out the actions needed to realise it.”

The analysis by Ricardo Energy & Environment makes clear that expanding Scotland’s use of renewable energy from 13% today to 50% by 2030 is a cost-effective route to meeting climate targets.

The study found that this is achievable and economically, socially and environmentally desirable. It recommends that Scotland continues to build on strong progress in renewable electricity, generating additional power for use in the transport and heat sectors, complemented by greater action on energy efficiency.

The report recommends that the Scot-Gov. should set a target to source at least 50% of Scotland’s energy from renewables by 2030, with individual targets for each of the heat, transport and electricity sectors.

srf-logo-for-senRicardo says new targets should be accompanied by a roadmap showing how they can be achieved, and the policies that will deliver them, as outlined below: –

But much of the following has already been articulated by Scotland’s renewable energy sector – including targets by type of energy, a holistic, joined-up Scottish Energy Strategy and greater use of heat-pumps.

These policies were articulated earlier this year at Scotland’s Renewable Futures Forum organised by Scottish Energy News; for details see;

Scotland’s Renewable Future forum delivers draft new Scottish Energy Strategy



Energy efficiency

This is the bedrock of carbon reduction, with total energy demand 20% lower than today thanks to buildings, products and vehicles that do more for less. Buildings deliver the bulk of the savings, thanks to a major energy efficiency upgrade which tackles fuel poverty, improves health and creates thousands of jobs.

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme must be provided with multi-year funding to deliver at scale, supported by regulation of minimum standards to drive uptake, and an overall target that is consistent with Scotland’s Climate Change Act.



The vision Ricardo Energy & Environment’s analysis shows that renewables must provide 40% of Scotland’s heat by 2030, up from 4% today, to meet Scotland’s climate targets cost effectively. This is achieved by fitting half of all homes with hybrid (electric/gas) heat pumps.

Three quarters of commercial buildings are renewably heated and district heat networks are commonplace, serving homes, businesses and industrial sites. Emissions from industry fall thanks to the use of biogas, biomass and electricity.

New buildings must be zero-carbon and heated by renewables.



Renewable electricity has been one of the early success stories of Scotland’s low-carbon story so far, bringing new jobs and cleaner air. Whilst there is sufficient wind power already operational, consented or in planning to deliver this scenario, new mechanisms will need to be found to replace UK Government support, both for new projects and the repowering of existing ones.

New mechanisms must be found to replace UK Government market support, both for new renewable projects and the repowering of existing ones, alongside greater investment in system flexibility such as energy storage, interconnection and demand-side response via smart meters

With no new new fossil fuel or nuclear plants, up to 7-8GW of new renewable capacity added during the 2020s on or offshore will also bring some 14,000 more jobs in wind energy


The Scottish Government should produce a clear vision for a wholly integrated sustainable transport system, showing how petrol and diesel vehicles will be phased-out and ensuring that public and active transport options can compete with the private car.

Low emission vehicles must become mainstream, with half of buses and one in three cars being BPVs (battery powered vehicles) and with 18% of transport energy coming from renewables.

Public health could be improved by investment in walking and cycling in towns and cities, and a 40% drop in the use of petrol and diesel would improve air quality in cities.

Lang Banks, Director, WWF Scotland, said: “Achieving this will require strong leadership and concerted action.

“The Scottish Government’s forthcoming <Scottish> energy strategy is a welcome opportunity to set out a clear vision for the future and describe how it plans to assert control over Scotland’s energy transition and thereby capture the many benefits on offer.”

Pixie Energy

Pixie logo Pixie Energy is an incubator and a facilitator of strategic research and project work, focusing on energy regulation, policy and markets at the local and national level. Find out more about Pixie Energy here.

Local Energy Matters: Scotland

Local Energy Matters: Scotland is a free-to-download brochure with a focus on energy tariffs in the two Scottish electricity distribution regions, as well news on local energy and low-carbon schemes.

Previous editions can be download here.

Scottish energy market overview

You can read an overview of the Scottish energy market here.

Scottish Government energy feed