Can Scotland really become the renewable energy capital of the world?
Are Scottish Government targets of generating 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 realistic? And how is Scotland going to achieve such demanding targets and when?
Three frank questions that Tavish Scott MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, will put later today to a major energy conference in Aberdeen .
Announcing the launch of his committee’s new inquiry into ‘Determining and Delivering Scotland’s Energy Future’, Mr Scott will call on the industry to tell politicians what decisions need to be taken to secure Scotland ’s future energy needs.
Committee convener Tavish Scott MSP said:
“Scottish and Southern Energy’s Ian Marchant said recently that government targets of Scotland generating 50 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 are perfectly laudable, but based on our performance to date is about as likely as St Johnstone winning the European Champions League within the next 12 years.
“That wasn’t a throw-away line. It was a frank assessment of the challenge before us if the 2020 target is to be achieved.
“Scottish business leaders say we need faster decision making and greater predictability in planning decisions. We also hear that business needs to have confidence that government policies implemented now will not simply be abandoned or overturned by future administrations.
“Over the coming months, our committee will be asking industry, government and independent experts to come together so that we can establish what type of energy future Scotland needs and how exactly it can be achieved.”
Ian Marchant, Chair of the Climate Change Business Delivery Group and Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, said:
"I welcome the inquiry and am pleased that it is to focus on delivery against the challenging energy targets Scotland is now obliged to meet by 2020. I am also pleased to see that the committee is going to focus on barriers to sustainable development across the energy sector.
“We all have a huge responsibility to act swiftly to tackle climate change, and secure our future supplies of energy. Politicians of all parties have a responsibility to work together constructively. The business community stands ready to work with the inquiry and we look forward to making a contribution that can help Scotland move forwards with determination and speed."
Remit of the inquiry into Scotland ’s Energy future
Given the imperative of cutting the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, the remit for the inquiry is to determine, within the devolved context and the Scottish Parliament’s competences:
- what type of future we want in Scotland in terms of the production, distribution and more efficient use of energy,
- how and when can this be delivered to meet the Scottish Government’s objectives of increasing renewable energy generation and reducing emissions,
- how can energy supplies be secured at an affordable price and how can economic benefits from the energy industries be maximised.
The committee’s call for written evidence to the inquiry will ask:
- what decisions need to be taken, by when and by whom to deliver on Scotland ’s energy future?