Campaign groups look to pressure Scottish government as poll confirms popular support for renewables
ACCORDING to a World Wildlife Fund Scotland (WWF) and nfpSynergy poll 61 per cent of Scots support a 'fully renewable' powered future with an emphasis on pollution free energy.
Campaigners for renewable energy and the environment following the poll called for Scottish ministers to embrace a vision to make Scotland the European Union's (EU) first fully renewable nation.
The environmental group WWF has also insisted that its independent research has shown that Scotland's electricity system could be powered almost exclusively by renewables within two decades.
"Given the positive progress Scotland has made already, it’s not surprising that the public should think even more should be made of our country’s abundant renewable resources." Lang Banks
The poll commissioned by WWF Scotland and conducted by nfpSynergy asked 1000 people if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: "I would like to see a Scotland that generates all of its electricity from our abundant renewable resources."
Anticipating the programme for government which the Scottish government is set for release on Tuesday, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "It’s fantastic to see that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables.
"Given the positive progress Scotland has made already, it’s not surprising that the public should think even more should be made of our country’s abundant renewable resources.
"Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation.
"The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.
"Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society."
This year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption.
The poll comes after a set of landmarks for the Scottish renewables industry with CommonSpace covering the world’s first grid connected tidal array from Shetland and the achievement of an average of 69 per cent of households in Scotland getting their electricity from wind turbines in August of this year.
Commenting alongside WWF in a joint statement Karen Robinson, spokesperson for WeatherEnergy, said: "Last month, for the first time, our data showed that wind turbines generated output equivalent to more than all of Scotland’s electricity needs for a single day. Meanwhile in Shetland, in a world first, electricity flowed to the grid from a tidal power array.
"Whether it’s wind, tidal or solar, Scotland is making positive steps on renewables each and every day. It’s amazing to think what Scotland might achieve with renewables in the future."
This year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption and the Scottish government has a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.
Yet, groups such as WWF are keen to point out that as Scotland generates more electricity than it consumes, the Scottish government's target could still factor in fossil fuels and nuclear power stations as a part of Scotland’s electricity system.
They point to the Scottish government’s current electricity generation policy statement, published in 2013 which mentions the construction of more than one new gas power plant and the continuation of Scotland’s existing nuclear generation power plants into the early 2020s.
Picture courtesy of Andy Magee
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