Campaigners rally Scotland for energy revolution as low carbon industries hit £11bn

Nathanael Williams

Charity states that building on Scotland’s renewable success can provide certainty for energy, transport and jobs 

WWF SCOTLAND has called on the Scottish Government to increase its ambition when setting the country’s renewable electricity targets.

The call comes in response to the news today [Tuesday 29 November]  that low carbon industries in Scotland generated up to £11bn in turnover in 2014.

Despite praising the government’s past actions, the charity urged that half of all Scotland’s energy needs should be from renewable sources by 2030.

Responding to the boost in the commercial success of renewable and low carbon industries, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “These figures underline the importance of low-carbon businesses to Scotland in helping our economy grow and creating new jobs.

“It's now time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables  in our heat and transport sectors.” Lang Banks

“The leadership that the Scottish Government has shown, through setting ambitious targets for renewable electricity generation, has helped Scotland capture a far greater proportion of jobs in key renewable industries in the UK.

“However, with electricity generation now accounting for less than one-quarter of Scotland's climate change emissions, it's now time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors.”

According to the first set of figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to included direct job creation in the low carbon sector, £10.7bn in turnover and 43,500 jobs were created in Scotland in 2014.

The figures from the ONS support the WWF assertion of the importance of the low carbon sector to the Scottish economy with it accounting for 12.9 per cent of the total UK turnover, and 9.7 per cent of the total employment in the sector.

“Setting ambitious renewable electricity targets helped give industry certainty.” Lang Banks

Banks added: “Setting ambitious renewable electricity targets helped give industry certainty. A new target to generate half of all our energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 would do the same for other parts of our economy, especially heat and transport."

The report by WWF Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) and RSPB Scotland also said that two-fifths of Scotland’s homes should be heated from renewables, which would work in tandem with the Warm Homes Act, due to be passed by the Scottish Government and aimed at making homes less wasteful of energy.

The report suggests that a third of cars and half of all buses will become electric in order to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles over the long term.

Picture courtesy of Elvis Kennedy

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