Scotland is about to hit its 100% renewable electricity target. It must go further – Richard Dixon. The target to generate 100 per cent of electricity used in Scotland from renewable sources by the end of this year will be missed, but should be achieved soon after with several big schemes in development. The UK has just experienced over a month when no coal was burned to make electricity, the first time since coal-fired power stations were built. When Longannet power station’s turbines stopped spinning in 2016 that was the end of 115 years of coal burning for power in Scotland. The only major fossil-fuel power station left in Scotland, the gas-fired station at Peterhead, is running at much-reduced capacity and likely to close in the next few years. We have two nuclear stations, but the two reactors at Hunterston have hardly run in the last two years because of cracking in their cores and are currently shut down, quite possibly never to start again. So when we reach the 100 per cent target we will have the capacity to make all the electricity we need but some days we will be making a thumping great excess and exporting it to England and Northern Ireland, and some days we will be importing power through those same connections. There are plans for a connection to Norway, to create an even more balanced system by linking to their huge hydro-power resources. We shouldn’t stop when we reach the 100 per cent target, we should power straight through, and invest in both more renewables and more energy storage in a big way, so that on every day we are making all of our electricity from wind, wave, solar, tidal and hydro-power, and on most days we are making money by selling the surplus to the rest of the UK and beyond. We’ll be talking to the manifesto writers for the 2021 Scottish election to see who has a strong vision for the next step in Scotland’s energy transition.
Scotsman 25th May 2020 read more »