Scottish Government’s renewable targets to be focus of Holyrood Committee

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The achievability of the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets is to be examined by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, which announced a call for evidence.

The technological, infrastructure and financial challenges of meeting the targets contained in the Scottish Government’s 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy will be discussed by the committee in a series of evidence sessions.

The committee will focus on the aims of the Scottish Government to achieve the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity generation by 2020.

During the course of these sessions, the committee will explore the merits of the targets, as well as the risks and barriers to these targets being realised.

SNP MSP and member of the Economy, Energy and Tourism committee Stuart McMillan said he was looking forward seeing Scotland’s renewable energy “showcased”.

Mr McMillan said:

“The SNP Government has set bold but achievable targets to deliver 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020.

“Scotland is increasingly recognised as a European and even world leader in renewable energy.

“The development of tidal and wave energy around our shores, investment in off shore wind turbines and new low carbon technologies will all play their part in meeting this target.”

Mr McMillan said that Scotland’s universities and energy providers had much to showcase but highlighted unfair transmission charges levied on Scottish based generators as one area that required explanation from energy watchdog Ofgem and added:

“I would urge all those who are helping to turn Scotland into a world leader in renewable energy and an example of what can be achieved to submit evidence to the inquiry.

“This inquiry is an opportunity for the renewables industry to demonstrate their ability to meet the Scottish Government’s targets and to make Scotland a global leader in clean, green energy.”

Committee Convener Murdo Fraser MSP said: “This inquiry will take a hard and realistic look at whether the Scottish Government’s targets are achievable.

Mr Fraser claimed that some recent planning decisions and reports had cast doubt on the issue of skills and investment and added:

“In addition to this controversy, a vigorous, polarised public debate continues on the merits of certain renewable technologies, and on the siting of developments such as wind farms and biomass plants.

“Given the strong feelings involved, we anticipate and welcome a high level of interest in the inquiry.

“We aim to hear from as broad a range of contributors as possible and will seek reassurance that issues of cost, skills and planning can be overcome.”

Key questions to be considered during the inquiry will include:

  • Is the technology to the meet the targets available and affordable?
  • Are our universities and research institutes fully geared up to the need for technological development?
  • How can national priorities be reconciled with local interests?
  • Are we confident that the necessary infrastructure can be developed and financed so that Scotland can export any excess electricity generation to the rest of the UK?
  • What will the impact be on consumers’ bills?
  • Will sufficient funds be available to allow investment in both the installation and development of relevant technologies?
  • Will Scotland have sufficient home-grown skills to attract inward investment?
  • Are the reforms of the energy markets and subsidy regimes at both UK and EU level sufficient to meet the challenge of the Scottish Government’s renewable targets?

Full details of the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s Renewable Energy Targets can be found within the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee pages.