WWF Scotland

£60m low carbon infrastructure fund open for applications

A new hub for charging electric vehicles in Dundee

A £60 million fund to help new technology and low carbon solutions be developed in Scotland is now open for business.

The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will fund large scale projects which support the ambitions of Scotland’s Energy Strategy, which was published in December 2017.

Projects which deliver low carbon heating solutions, integrated energy systems, and ultra-low emission vehicle charging infrastructure will be able to apply for up to £100,000 to develop investment-ready business cases or financial support of up to 50% of the total capital value of a project up to a maximum of £10 million per project is available for capital–ready projects.

Climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham will officially launch the fund at an event at Scotland House in London, which will be attended by business leaders, climate experts and environmental campaigners.

Speaking ahead of this evening’s event, Ms Cunningham said: “We have, first and foremost, a moral obligation to fight climate change.

“But for a nation with Scotland’s resources and skills, the transition to a more prosperous, low carbon and circular economy also presents a valuable economic opportunity.

“We are determined to attract, retain and develop the low carbon innovators who will shape our future.

“That is why, I am delighted to confirm that we are now accepting applications from innovative local energy projects to the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf added: “The Scottish Government is committed to the introduction of a cleaner, greener transport network and ultra-low emission vehicle infrastructure is central to that.

“I am pleased we are making such a significant sum available to encourage innovative local solutions to some of our most challenging national issues.

“I would encourage any interested business or organisation to apply for support under the scheme, and explore how we can work together to realise the environmental and economic potential of low carbon infrastructure solutions.”

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Sam Gardner, acting director at WWF Scotland, said: “It will be hugely exciting to see what new technology and low carbon solutions will be developed in Scotland thanks to this new fund. Innovation in heating, transport and electricity will help us cut emissions, create new jobs and build new industry. We know there will be challenges in implementing the transition to a low-carbon economy but we should grasp the opportunity to build solutions for the rest of the world to adopt.

“To speed up this change, Scotland’s forthcoming Climate Change Bill must set a net zero greenhouse gas target by 2050. This would help shape a new market and attract global investment.”

The LCITP programme has already offered over £40 million of funding to 16 low carbon demonstrator projects supporting low carbon energy generation and supported the co-development of over 30 proof of concept and development proposals.

The publication of the Energy Strategy clearly set out Scotland’s achievements to date and capacity for innovation.

Projects must be based in Scotland and be able to be fully operational by September 2021.

Funding applications can be found here.

£80m strategic energy blueprint unveiled with 50% clean energy pledge by 2030

The Scottish Government has published the country’s first Energy Strategy which it said will strengthen the development of local energy, empower and protect consumers, and support climate change efforts while tackling fuel poverty.

The strategy includes a range of actions, including a £20 million Energy Investment Fund, which will build on the success of the Renewable Energy Investment Fund, and a £60m Low Carbon Innovation Fund, to provide dedicated support for renewable and low carbon infrastructure over and above wider interventions to support innovation across the economy.

An open consultation was conducted at the beginning of the year which drew over 250 substantive responses. Those detailed responses, as well as feedback from the Scottish Energy Advisory Board and responses to further consultations on the onshore wind policy statement, local heat and energy efficiency strategies, regulation of district heating, and unconventional oil and gas, have helped shape, inform and influence the strategy.

The strategy’s six strategic priorities include:

  • Promote consumer engagement and protect consumers from excessive costs
  • Champion Scotland’s renewable energy potential, creating new jobs and supply chain opportunities
  • Improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes, buildings, industrial processes and manufacturing
  • Continue to support investment and innovation across our oil and gas sector, including exploration, innovation, subsea engineering, decommissioning and carbon capture and storage
  • Ensure homes and businesses can continue to depend on secure, resilient and flexible energy supplies
  • Empower communities by supporting innovative local energy systems and networks

During a statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday, business, energy and innovation minister, Paul Wheelhouse, also announced that the latest figures from the Energy Saving Trust show a 12% increase in the level of community and locally owned renewable capacity operating in Scotland, which now sits at more than 660MW.

Wide engagement and public consultation on a publicly owned energy company is planned for 2018. The aim is that this company will support economic development and contribute to tackling fuel poverty, as well as being run on a not-for-profit basis.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “Scotland has world class skills, expertise and knowledge, from the North Sea oil and gas industry to our academic institutions and smaller start-ups to our cutting edge low carbon technology.

“This strategy recognises and builds on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. It places consumers, and their interests, more firmly than ever at the heart of everything that we do.

“We are leading the way in promoting community and locally owned renewable energy – well ahead of the rest of the UK – as figures announced today demonstrate.

“This strategy will guide decisions of the Scottish Government over the coming decades. We want to make sure, within the scope of our devolved powers, good stewardship of Scotland’s energy sector – something we have called the UK government to step up to for years.”

Responding to the publication, Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “It’s great to see the Scottish Government cement its ambitions to deliver half of our energy from renewable sources by 2030. In uncertain times for investment, it is a strong statement that Scotland is open for low-carbon business and plans to build on its fantastic progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors.

“A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits. Independent research for WWF Scotland shows that this is necessary to deliver climate change targets and can be delivered with existing technologies.

“To ensure a truly effective, joined-up strategy, more effort needs to be put into developing policy to reduce our demand for energy in the first place. The Scottish Government needs to enable people to get out of their cars, insulate their homes and improve the energy efficiency of their businesses. With growing demand for the Climate Change Bill to increase our ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, a clearer vision and bold, substantive policies will be needed more than ever. The final Climate Change Plan, due in February, should be the real test of whether this strategy is given teeth.”

Sam Ghibaldan, head of the Consumer Futures Unit (CFU) at Citizens Advice Scotland, stressed the importance of consumer engagement and protection as the first theme of the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy.

He said: “As we journey to a low carbon future the energy market will be disrupted, and consumers’ interests should be put first as new structures and technologies are adopted.

“New systems must be easily understood by householders, and their rights must be clear. The CFU, as the independent energy consumer advocate, will ensure the consumer voice is heard during the development of energy efficiency and district heating policy, and in other areas addressed by the energy strategy.

“As the energy system of the future evolves it is critical that consumers are considered, empowered and protected if change is going to succeed.”

Scottish Renewables said the new renewable energy target contained the strategy shows “huge ambition”.

The goal, suggested by the industry body in January 2016, will see half of all energy – for heat, transport and electricity – coming from renewable sources by 2030.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, added: “Scotland’s first Energy Strategy heralds a new era for the energy system used by us all, and provides a roadmap for others to follow.

“For the first time, the Scottish Government has set out a holistic plan for how we produce and use energy, breaking down the barriers between electricity, heat and transport.

“The huge ambition of the new target is to be commended. The Strategy creates a framework for us as an industry, Scotland’s policymakers and the public to think in different ways about energy supply and demand.

“It should also provide much-needed impetus to tackle issues like the decarbonisation of our heat supply, levels of fuel poverty and the challenges presented by the roll-out of electric vehicles.

“Of particular note is the 50% renewable energy target contained in the Strategy, which sends a strong signal to industry that renewables should take its place the heart of our economy.

“Previous targets laid the foundation for the rapid growth of Scotland’s renewable energy industry – an industry which already employs 26,000 people, invests hundreds of millions of pounds every year and displaces the equivalent carbon emissions of our entire transport sector.

“This new target has the potential to do the same not just for the continued growth of our renewable electricity sector but also for heat and transport, where action to decarbonise is urgently needed.”

Sturgeon officially opens world’s first floating wind farm

HywindThe world’s first floating wind farm was formally opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today.

Situated about 15 miles from Peterhead, Statoil’s Hywind project has seen five giant turbines installed using a floating approach which allows turbines to be installed in much deeper waters than conventional offshore wind farms.

The 172-metre turbines are almost four times the height of the Forth Bridge.

Norwegian energy firm Statoil has been working on developing Hywind for more than 15 years.

Power generated by the project will be brought to 20,000 homes.

This wind farm is positioned in water depths of up to 129m, whereas those fixed to the seabed are generally at depths of up to 50m.

Statoil believes the technology has the potential to work in water depths of up to 700m.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This pilot project underlines the potential of Scotland’s huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies.

“In addition to the green benefits of renewable energy, it also has a very significant contribution to make to our economy.

“I’m pleased Scottish suppliers have contributed to the Hywind project from the development through to the production phase and are still involved to investigate long-term potential for floating wind.”

Welcoming the official opening, Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Hywind’s presence in Scottish waters is a reminder that, as the windiest country in Europe, and with some of the deepest waters and most promising offshore wind sites, Scotland is perfectly placed to capitalise on floating turbine technology.

“Our unique offshore supply chain and the skillset it supports put us at the forefront of the deployment of these innovative machines.

“That deployment, through sites like Hywind and the Kincardine project further south will help lower costs for this young sector, increasing the opportunity for Scotland to take advantage of a significant future global market.”

Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “With around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource in Scotland, it’s great to see the world’s first floating windfarm inaugurated off our coast. Offshore wind is already an industrial success story across the UK, cutting emissions, creating jobs and dramatically driving down costs. By demonstrating the commercial viability of floating wind, Scotland can help to develop the industry in new frontiers and deeper waters.

“With this kind of innovation and investment, and continued political support, Scotland will continue to power towards our target of securing half of all our energy needs form renewable sources by 2030.”

Renewable energy projects win 15-year contracts after UK government auction

Beatrice offshore wind farmTwo Scottish renewable energy projects which will power more than one million homes have been awarded 15-year contracts after a UK government auction.

The Moray East Offshore wind farm, planned for the Moray Firth, has been awarded a contract in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s second competitive clean power auction at a price substantially lower than previous auction rounds. The project is scheduled to start generating power in 2022/23.

The result was one of three UK offshore wind projects to win a Contract for Difference (CfD) in the auction, which together signalled a considerable drop in the cost of the technology –50% since the first auction in February 2015.

Grangemouth Renewable Energy Limited also received a CfD for its dedicated biomass with CHP plant, which will be delivered in 2021/22, at a price significantly lower than the Government’s administrative strike price.

The two projects, once built, will together generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,136,100 homes.

Welcoming the results, Scottish Renewables’ deputy chief executive, Jenny Hogan, said: “The results of this latest auction are good news for Scotland, for our environment and for our energy system.

“The cost reductions seen in offshore wind in particular have been dramatic and are testament to the determination of developers to drive down costs. The scale of innovation taking place across the sector and its growing supply chain show the importance of ensuring a viable, competitive route to market is available for clean power technologies.

“The biomass CHP plant at Grangemouth has also demonstrated significant cost reduction.

“However, onshore wind and solar are currently excluded from competing in Contracts for Difference auctions. The government has the tools to drive down costs even further and these technologies can and should be allowed to play their role in delivering the government’s own Industrial Strategy.”

Ms Hogan added: “We hope to see all renewable technologies getting the chance to bid in future auction rounds and to demonstrate just how cheap they can be.

“The government must now set out in its Clean Growth Plan a clear plan for cutting emissions further from the UK’s energy system, and provide certainty to investors over the timing for further auctions rounds for all technologies.”

Offshore wind cleared at prices of £74.75 per megawatt hour (MWh) for projects which will begin generating power in 2021/22 and £57.50/MWh for those commissioning in 2022/23.

At these prices, offshore wind is now substantially cheaper than new nuclear, with Hinkley Point C awarded a power contract at a price of £92.50MW/h.

Dedicated biomass with CHP cleared at a price of £74.75, against an administrative strike price of £115.

Ronnie, Quinn, chief executive of Crown Estate Scotland, which leases seabed to developers and passes rent profit to Scottish Government, said: “More certainty for Scottish projects can only be a good thing. Offshore wind directly benefits communities across Scotland by creating jobs, reducing climate change emissions and contributing to the profits that Crown Estate Scotland passes to the public purse.”

He added: “Offshore wind is an affordable and reliable source of large-scale power that is driving spend in the UK supply chain.”

The announcement comes as new data revealed that wind power output in Scotland increased by over a third in August on same period last year.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of wind and solar data provided by WeatherEnergy found that enough electricity was generated last month to power nine out ten of all Scottish households.

The environmental charity WWF Scotland said the 846,942 MWh of energy produced equates to the average energy needs of 2.25 million (93%) of Scottish homes – up 34% on the 629,603 MWh produced in August 2016.

Enough wind power was generated to potentially supply 100% or more of Scottish homes on nine days in the month and met more than 100% of total Scottish demand from homes, business and industry on two days.

Wind farms produced enough electricity to power almost half (48%) of Scotland’s total consumption for the month of 1,776,118 MWh.

On the most productive day, August 19, wind power covered the equivalent of 158% of Scotland’s total demand or nearly five million homes while on the least productive day it managed 20%.

WWF Scotland’s acting head of policy, Gina Hanrahan, said: “Renewables are working, creating jobs and investment and cutting carbon and thanks to clear policy ambition we are now a leading global player.

“August was another great month for the wind sector, providing the equivalent of 93% of the electricity needs of Scotland’s households.

“On August 19 alone, output from turbines generated enough electricity to power nearly 5 million homes or 158% of Scotland’s total electricity demand.

“Month after month renewables are continuing to play a vital role in cutting carbon emissions and powering the Scottish economy.”

£60m fund to help accelerate low carbon energy infrastructure

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon

A new £60 million fund is to be made available to accelerate innovation in new technologies including low carbon energy infrastructure by 2020.

The Innovation Fund, announced in the Programme for Government by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, will support the development of electricity battery storage, sustainable heating systems and electric vehicle charging.

The Scottish Government intends to end the need for new petrol or diesel vehicles in Scotland by 2032 by taking a range of actions, including expanding the charging network and making the A9 Scotland’s first electric-enabled highway.

The new Innovation Fund will also encourage academia and business to find solutions to some of the challenges that will be faced – for example, among projects the fund could support include identifying innovative solutions to the challenge of charging electric vehicles in heavily tenemented towns and cities.

Making the announcement while visiting the Riverside Museum in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “For centuries, Scotland has been home to many great inventions and I want this technological innovation to be renewed for the future. I want us to be world leaders in developing new low carbon energy technologies and embrace social changes that will reduce our emissions.

“We have set out a bold new ambition on ultra-low emission vehicles, including electric cars and vans, with a target to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, underpinned by a range of actions to expand the charging network, support innovative approaches and encourage the public sector to lead the way.

“Earlier this year I visited Tesla in Silicon Valley to discuss the importance of energy storage technology to Scotland’s wider energy strategy. That visit was an inspiration. We’re witnessing rapid technological change and the many companies focussing their efforts on this sector are making extraordinary advances. I want to see Scotland play its full part in this age of innovation.”

Environment secretary Rosanna Cunningham said: “As well as pushing ahead with the decarbonisation of road transport, we have also announced plans to introduce Low Emission Zones into Scotland’s four biggest cities between 2018 and 2020 – improving air quality and making our city centres a more desirable place to live, work and visit.

“Scotland has made good progress in tackling air pollution, but a there are still areas of our towns and cities where levels are too high. We want to develop a sustainable future for younger generations.

“Taken together, these measures along with our plans to build an Active Nation by investing record sums in walking and cycling, represent a step change in our levels of ambition and it’s heartening to see this being described as Scotland’s boldest and greenest Programme for Government.”

WWF Scotland said the “ambitious, progressive and green Programme for Government, puts Scotland’s low carbon economy in the driving seat”.

Acting head of policy, Gina Hanrahan, said: “Scotland has long been home to world class innovation and this Programme for Government is a welcome commitment to build on our strengths and embrace a sustainable future with confidence. The benefits of today’s announcement will continue to be felt across Scotland for generations to come, as we build on the huge successes of renewable electricity, to create new jobs in clean transport and deliver a thriving economy.

“We’ll be working with Ministers and MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament to ensure these plans are delivered in the best, fairest, most affordable way possible.

Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, added: “The announcement of £60m to deliver cutting-edge low-carbon energy infrastructure like electricity battery storage and sustainable heating systems will build on the success of projects already announced under the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme and further enable our shift to a cleaner, greener economy.”

Scotland’s next big infrastructure project ‘must create low carbon future’

The new Queensferry Crossing as viewed from Port Edgar Marina. Image reproduced courtesy of Transport Scotland

The new Queensferry Crossing as viewed from Port Edgar Marina. Image reproduced courtesy of Transport Scotland

In the week Scotland’s newest bridge opens to traffic, campaigners are setting out the benefits of another big infrastructure project that would help to create a more socially-just and low-carbon future.

Environmental organisation WWF Scotland and health charity the British Lung Foundation Scotland believe future Scottish Government infrastructure investment should be channelled into projects that will benefit the whole country, while also creating green jobs, boosting the economy and improving the nation’s health.

An example being put forward is for the Scottish Government to set a target in the forthcoming Climate Change Bill to ensure everyone in Scotland is living in a warm and healthy home by 2025, reaching the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C.

Such a move would help one in three households in Scotland who currently live in fuel poverty, save millions for the NHS and create new jobs. A project such as this will would create jobs around every part of the country, creating and sustaining many small and medium sized businesses.

Irene Johnstone, head of the British Lung Foundation in Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government needs to increase its emphasis on preventing poor lung health. We know cold, damp and mouldy homes cause illnesses, including lung disease, which places additional strain on our health and social services. Therefore it’s clear that improving the condition of Scotland’s homes is a key component to the overall preventative healthcare agenda.

“Research shows that, as a minimum, properties should be raised to an Energy Performance Certificate band C to help reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home. We hope Scotland’s next big infrastructure project will be one that improves the health and wellbeing of the hundreds of thousands of people currently living in a cold and draughty home.”

Sarah Beattie-Smith, senior climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government made a welcome commitment to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority back in 2015 but that commitment lacks the necessary funding, targets and delivery body to make it a reality.

“Without the money and the detail, the government’s commitment on energy efficiency is like committing to building a bridge without saying where it’s going. That’s why it’s so important that the Scottish Government uses the upcoming Climate Change Bill to embed new legal targets on energy efficiency, including getting all homes to an EPC rating of C by 2025.

“By doing so, the Scottish Government can create warmer homes, deliver huge economic benefits, improve the nation’s health and drastically reduce emissions too.”

Last year the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force recommended making all of Scotland’s buildings warm, healthy and affordable to heat as one a number of low carbon, future-proof engineering projects.

Strong winds and sunshine help power Scotland as production jumps 20 per cent

renewables wind farm

Wind power output in Scotland has jumped by almost 20 per cent on same period last year- powering equivalent to 95 per cent of all Scottish households’ electricity needs.

The data suggests that solar power generation could have provided enough electricity for all Scottish households.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of wind and solar data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for the month of May:

  • Wind turbines in Scotland alone provided 863,494.63 MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 95% of Scottish households –an almost 20% increase compared to May 2016, when wind energy provided 692,896.1 MWh.
  • Wind generated enough output to supply 100% or more of Scottish homes on eleven out of the 31 days of May.
  • Scotland’s total electricity consumption (i.e. including homes, business and industry) for May was 1,857,566 MWh. Wind power therefore generated the equivalent of 46% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.
  • For homes fitted with solar PV panels, there was enough sunshine to generate over 100% of the electricity needs of an average household in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Lerwick.
  • For those homes fitted with solar hot water panels, there was enough sunshine to generate over 90% of an average household’s hot water needs in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Lerwick, Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling.

The WWF Scottland said that May had proved to be another extraordinary month for renewables across Scotland, proving the energy revolution is happening, whether President Trump backs it or not.

WWF Scotland’s acting director Dr Sam Gardner said: “Despite the disappointment of last week’s announcement that President Trump is to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, the global energy revolution is unstoppable and continues at pace here in Scotland.

“May proved to be another great month for renewables with the wind sector meeting 95 per cent of the electricity needs of Scotland’s households. On one day in particular, May15th, output from turbines generated enough to electricity to power 190% of homes or 99% of Scotland’s total electricity demand.  Month after month renewables play a vital role in cutting carbon emissions and powering the Scottish economy.

“The Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy makes a welcome commitment to build on this progress and tackle our reliance on fossil fuels for heating and transport. We hope the final Strategy sets out the clear steps the government must take to secure this vision and deliver the benefits of the renewable energy revolution.”

On solar power, Gardner added: “Thanks to a super sunny month, solar was on sizzling form and could have met more than 100% of household electricity demand in towns and cities across Scotland.”

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: “Scotland again managed to pump out clean power by the bucket load during May.  While people might not be too surprised to learn solar power output was up in May, they might be surprised to discover that wind power output was also pretty impressive. When it comes to renewables in Scotland, it would appear the sun does indeed have his hat on.”

Low-carbon infrastructure projects to share £43m direct investment

Nicola Sturgeon announces Low Carbon Infrastructure Investment Funding for 13 projects including Water Source Heat Pump in the Gorbals at All-Energy eventDetails of how more than £43 million is being invested in low-carbon infrastructure were announced today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Shared across 13 projects throughout Scotland, this investment represents one of the largest direct energy investments in the last 10 years. The funding, awarded by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP), will be matched by a minimum of £43m from private and public sector partners.

Projects include an innovative local energy system on Fair Isle, an energy storage project in Shetland, low-carbon heat networks in Dundee, Stirling, Clydebank and Glenrothes and the installation of a heat pump on the River Clyde to serve the Gorbals area.

The full list of projects is available on the LCITP website.

Speaking at the All Energy Conference in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “These projects have great potential to help us tackle climate change, and remain at the forefront of low carbon and renewable innovation. They will also bring economic benefits – in terms of savings and jobs – to local areas across the country.

“Scotland has some of the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world. Over the past 10 years, our pattern of energy consumption has changed considerably, helping us to meet – and exceed – our 2020 target for reducing energy consumption, six years early.

“We are determined to build on this success, and we are now seeking views on a new target through our draft Energy Strategy – for 50% of our energy consumption – spanning heat, transport and electricity – to be met by renewables by 2030.

“With Scotland’s world-leading expertise in renewables, which employs at least 11,000 people, and a growing workforce of at least 58,000 in the low carbon sector, I am confident of our future success.”

The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme is a collaborative partnership led by the Scottish Government, working with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. It focuses on the acceleration of low carbon infrastructure projects across public, private and community sectors, helping them to create investment business cases and secure capital finance from public and private sources. The programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Star Renewable Energy have been awarded funding to develop the UK’s first water source heat pump (WSHP) for medium temperature district heating to service existing buildings. The 2.5MW water source heat pump on the Clyde at the Gorbals will be deployed by September 2018 and will be Britain’s largest inner city 80 degrees Celsius heat pump.

Dave Pearson, director at Star Renewable Energy, added: “Star has been trying to replicate the success of its river heat pump in Norway for some time but has struggled to progress a similar example in Scotland.

“The support provided by the Scottish Government through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme has recognised both the technical and commercial potential of our project in Glasgow’s Gorbals.

“The programme is providing excellent support in placing a high temperature river heat pump – the largest in the UK – at the Clyde to supply clean, low carbon heat to buildings in the Gorbals, helping us to collectively work to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in Scotland.”

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewable energy is already bringing economic and environmental benefits to Scotland

“Investments like this – which will be matched by a minimum of £43 million from private and public sector partners – will help secure the vital decarbonisation of our energy system.

“It is particularly pleasing to see renewable heat technologies being provided with support. With already-stretching targets – and an ambition to do much more – it is crucial that we work harder to cut the amount of carbon emitted by our demand for heat, which makes up more than half of the energy we use in Scotland.”

During the conference the First Minister also reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s target that 50% of all Scotland’s energy should be from renewables by 2030.

Reacting to the confirmation, Dr Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to hear the First Minister reaffirm her Government’s commitment to meeting half of Scotland’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. Choosing the iconic All Energy Conference to make the announcement sends a strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that renewables are at the heart of Scotland’s economic policy and that Scotland plans to expand its amazing progress on renewable electricity into the heat and transport sectors.

“A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits. Research shows that generating half of our energy from renewables by 2030 is both necessary and achievable. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to make sure that the right policies are in place to deliver on this target, which is supported by all parties in the Scottish Parliament and the public.”

Dr Gardner added: “It’s great to see so many low carbon infrastructure projects receiving funding.   These projects, such as energy storage in Shetland and a river heat pump in the Clyde, are a clear signal of the economic opportunities the transition to a zero carbon future offers Scotland. Catalyst funding such as this has an important role to play in trialling and proving new infrastructure, the important next step is for Scotland energy strategy to support their wider deployment and ensure we capture the full economic, social and health benefits that a zero-carbon society offers.”

The consultation on the draft Energy Strategy is open until 30 May.

Scotland sets new wind power record

The Beatrice windfarm off the Scottish coast

The Beatrice windfarm off the Scottish coast

Wind turbines in Scotland set a new March record for the total amount of power sent to the National Grid since records began.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of wind power data provided by WeatherEnergy found for the month of March that:

  • Wind turbines in Scotland provided 1,240,095MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households (3.3 million homes) – this represents an increase of 81% compared to that of March 2016, when wind energy provided 684,632MWh.
  • The 1,240,095MWh of electricity sent to the National Grid by wind farms in Scotland represents a new record for an entire month of March. The previous highest recorded March output figure was in 2015, when 1,006,018MW was sent to the grid. **Note: This is a new record for the month of March only. Other months of the year have recorded higher total outputs.**
  • Scotland’s total electricity consumption (i.e. including homes, business and industry) for March was 2,146,872MWh. Wind power therefore generated the equivalent of 58% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.
  • On two separate days (Friday 17th and Sunday 19th) wind turbines generated output equivalent to more that Scotland’s total power needs for each entire day – equivalent to 102% and 130% of each day’s demand, respectively.

WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said: “Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing increase capacity by building new wind farms. As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

“However, the UK Government’s decision to end support for onshore wind is going to make meeting our international climate obligations much harder in the future. [2] The reality is that if we’re serious about cutting carbon pollution in the most cost-effective way, then we need every one of the political parties in Scotland to back the continued deployment of onshore wind power.

“It’s only with political backing for onshore wind from all of the parties that Scotland will be able to maximise the benefits to its economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy added: “It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output of the years. The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. More importantly, it meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”

Draft energy strategy outlines 2030 renewables target

solar-panel-array-stock home energyAn integrated energy roadmap which proposes that half of all Scotland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2030 has been unveiled by the Scottish Government.

Published yesterday, the draft Scottish Energy Strategy sets out a vision for 2050 for Scotland to have a modern, integrated energy system that delivers reliable, low carbon energy at affordable prices to consumers in all parts of Scotland.

Announcing the publication, minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said the Strategy will build upon the existing economic strengths of the energy sector in Scotland, while protecting energy security and setting out the government’s approach to tackling fuel poverty.

The vision will be supported next month when Holyrood will announce details of up to £50 million in funding to be awarded to 13 projects across Scotland, which will demonstrate low carbon or renewable electricity, heating or storage solutions.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The decisions we make about Scotland’s energy future are among the most important choices we face as a society. Safe, reliable and affordable energy underpins the continued growth of the Scottish economy, and safeguards the delivery of key services upon which individuals and communities depend. Achieving our vision is also crucial to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to preventing the damaging effects of climate change, as part of the global community’s fight to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius or less.”

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the publication but has called for the strategy to include greater emphasis on increasing the energy efficiency of homes.

David Stewart, SFHA policy lead, said increasing energy efficiency of homes is the most effective method of reducing carbon emissions.

He added: “The SFHA welcomes the publication of the draft Scottish Energy Strategy and its ambition to provide a coherent roadmap to a low carbon energy system in Scotland by 2050. We are also pleased to see the commitment to increase the use of renewable energy to meet domestic supply needs.

“However, we would like the Energy Strategy to acknowledge that the most effective method of reducing carbon emissions is by reducing the need for energy use in the first instance – and this can be done by increasing the energy efficiency of homes. We therefore call on the Scottish Government to put this at the heart of the strategy – not only is increasing home energy efficiency the most cost effective way to lower carbon emissions, but it reduces fuel poverty and creates jobs and training through insulating and retrofitting our existing homes.

“With an ambition to move from fossil fuels to renewable sources, it is vital that we invest in energy efficiency to insulate households against the effects of likely increased prices as we move from gas to renewable heat. We believe that this should be achieved through a long-term investment programme and by setting minimum energy efficiency standards for all of Scotland’s homes.”

WWF Scotland said the new Strategy provides a powerful signal about Scotland’s new energy future.

Welcoming the renewable energy target, Gina Hanrahan, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to see many of our ideas brought forward in this strategy, especially a new target to secure half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. The new all energy target sends a strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that Scotland plans to build on its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors.

“A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits.  Research shows that generating half of our energy from renewables by 2030 is both necessary and achievable. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to make sure that policies are in place to deliver on this target, which enjoys strong cross-party and public support.”

On proposals for Scotland’s new energy efficiency programme, Hanrahan said: “The new information fails to put enough meat on the bones of the Scottish Government’s commitment to transform the energy efficiency of existing homes. With 1.5million cold homes in Scotland, these proposals are too slow and underfunded, especially when greater investment could create up to 9,000 jobs across the country.  Ministers must set an objective for a new programme supporting all homes to reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate ‘C’ band by 2025.”

On a consultation on extensive new proposals to expand district heating, Hanrahan added: “Heat networks will need to expand in Scotland’s major cities to help tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions from heating our buildings and industry. The Scottish Government’s welcome proposals for local heat plans and district heating regulation should help bring affordable, low carbon heat to many more people in cities and towns across the country.”

As well as setting ambitious targets, the draft Scottish Energy Strategy also seeks views on a number of issues including:

  • A renewed focus on energy efficiency – taking a targeted approach to reducing demand and transforming homes and businesses across Scotland, including through investment in district heating;
  • Establishment of a Scottish Government owned energy company and its potential remit in meeting Scotland’s energy needs; and
  • The potential role for renewable energy bonds.

Mr Wheelhouse added: “I am very keen to ensure this strategy, which helps to underpin key aspects of the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan which was published last week, is infused with the thoughts and views of people from right across Scotland and I would strongly encourage everyone to participate.”

The consultation on the draft Energy Strategy will run until May 30.