SNP’s new Scottish energy strategy includes more solar power and possible state-owned community renewables company

SNP manifesto 2016 logoThe SNP manifesto vows to introduce a range of new political ‘goodies’ in Scotland’s renewable energy industry if re-elected to government in next month’s Scottish parliament elections.

The party / government aims to develop an ambitious new Scottish Energy Strategy for the new parliamentary session and the one beyond that to make electricity ‘cleaner, more affordable and more secure’ for all consumers.

The strategy will take a “whole system view” and will encompass: –

  • Demand reduction
  • Energy efficiency
  • A balanced energy generation mix
  • A role for storage, and
  • Requirements for a low carbon transition in transport and heat use.

In developing the strategy, the SNP vow to undertake fresh analysis and full consideration of electricity generation options, drawing on expert opinion, including from the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, as well as ‘carefully considering’ the suggestion from a renewable industry trade association to set a target of 50% of all Scottish energy to come from renewables by 2030. The manifesto adds:

Since 2007 total output of renewable electricity has more than doubled, and 57.7% of Scotland’s electricity needs now comes from renewables – exceeding our target of 50% by 2015. Between 2010 and 2014, £14.2 billion of investment has been announced in the Scottish renewables sector, driven by our target that 100 percent of Scotland’s electricity needs will come from renewables by 2020.

We will continue to support new wave energy technology through Wave Energy Scotland and the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

We will work closely with the Solar Trade Association to advance proposals for expanding solar energy in Scotland. And we will also continue to promote biomass as a good use of our forestry products for energy.

We will also explore the creation of a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond in order to allow savers to invest in and support Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

We are working with Scotland’s Islands communities to ensure they can release their huge renewable energy potential. We will continue to press the UK Government to progress the necessary EU permissions and bring forward a viable package of support that will facilitate the vital grid connections to the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles.

We will ensure that by 2020, at least half of newly consented renewable energy projects will have an element of shared ownership. And we will argue for Scottish control of our share of feed-in tariffs to help promote community ownership schemes.

We will explore the potential to create a government owned energy company to help the growth of local and community energy projects. This will include empowering communities to use the income from energy developments to support other communities develop their energy potential.


Carbon capture and storage

We will continue to challenge the UK Government and Ofgem to reform the transmission charging regime. We have championed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and the UK Government’s decision to withdraw financial support for CCS is unacceptable.

We will continue to work with all stakeholders to examine what can be done to revitalise the future of CCS in Scotland. We recognise that a new CCS fitted gas power station can provide backup and base load and we will press for removal of the transmission charging regime which is a block on investment.


Nuclear power ban

We will maintain a ban on the creation of new nuclear power stations due to their excessive cost. We will continue to support the workforce of Scotland’s existing nuclear plants at Torness and Hunterston to generate electricity for as long as the plants are safe to do so.


Green Investment Bank

We have supported the continued presence of the Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh – seeking and securing assurances from the UK Government on the continuation of its work as an investor in new green infrastructure, its green purpose and its Edinburgh base, as they move to privatise the bank. We will seek reassurances from the new owners on these points and support the internationalisation of the organisation, helping to secure and promote Scotland’s role as a global leader in the fast-growing international market for green finance.


Low Carbon Transport System

We are committed to increasing low-carbon transport and travel in Scotland and by 2020 we will deliver a Low Carbon Travel and Transport programme with £62.5 million investment to create low carbon infrastructure. We will refresh the Switched On Scotland Electric Vehicle Roadmap which was first published in 2013


Oil and Gas

The SNP manifesto on this merely summarises the recent city and shire deal for Aberdeen, adding: We welcome the fact that oil and gas companies are using their expertise, especially in subsea, to help take forward renewable energy developments.

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