Dr Sam Gardner is head of policy at WWF Scotland: while Scotland has made great strides in renewable electricity there remains much we can learn from others who have shown leadership on heating, transport and energy efficiency. For example, in Norway, the introduction of legislation to support district heating has shown a 150 per cent increase in the installed capacity for district heating over the last 10 years. This has helped make it possible for the city of Drammen to create a district heating network that supplies several thousand homes and businesses with clean, affordable heat. This system didn’t rely on Scandinavian engineering but the expertise of Glasgow-based Star Renewables; Norway simply provided the right environment. Scotland must do the same if it wants to attract the same level of investment. A Warm Homes Act would bring clean and affordable warmth to households and businesses, by supporting the growth of district heating and renewable heat, while improving the energy efficiency of our buildings. It would reduce heat demand, cut fuel bills and create jobs in a new district heat ing industry. By making the improvement of energy efficiency a long-term national infrastructure project, no one in Scotland would have to live in a hard to heat, draughty home by 2025. Public investment in energy efficiency could create up to 9,000 new jobs around every part of Scotland, and ensure 1.25million homes in Scotland will be made warm, affordable to heat, and lower carbon. With elections on May 5, all parties should be laying out their plans to grasp the opportunities of a clean energy transition and, as Ms Figueres urges, ensure we “create a reality as transformational as our vision”.
Herald 11th March 2016 read more »