Scotland on the Road to Meeting Renewables Targets

Scotland is well placed to meet its ambitious renewable energy targets, according to a report published by the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS). The report, by the Forum’s sub-group on Future Generation, looks at the role and challenges renewable energy will face up to 2020. It confirms that there are no technical obstacles involved in connecting the required new generation to the electricity network, although there will be upgrades and new investment required.

The report concluded that, based on projections of future electricity demand, renewable energy generation totaling 6,000 MW of capacity will be needed for Scotland to reach their target of generating 40 percent of Scotland’s electricity by 2020 – this means over 3,000 additional MW in addition to the capacity already approved or operational. “I am absolutely clear that this figure should not be thought of as a cap,” said FREDS chairman and Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace. “Scotland has enormous potential, and the range of technologies which we are determined to support could easily take us beyond this figure. FREDS brings together representatives from the Scottish Executive, local authorities, the Enterprise Networks, the new renewables industry, the established energy industry, academia and other stakeholders. Wallace also implied quite directly that not all the new renewable energy capacity would not come predominantly from one renewable energy technology, like wind, for example. “We remain fully committed to promoting diverse technological developments,” Wallace said. “FREDS has warned that setting targets or reserving capacity for individual technologies would be detrimental to the development of the sector as a whole. Wind power is often wrongfully cited as technology that poses challenges to grid stability due to the intermittent nature of the wind resource and the ensuing power generation. The report came in defense of wind with this respect. “A key topic addressed in the report concerns the impact of renewables and particularly wind generation on the future security of supplies for Scotland and on the operation of the wider Great Britain electricity market,” said Lewis Dale from National Grid Company and a member of the group that produced the report. “We are satisfied that, provided the associated network reinforcements are completed, the variability of output from the wind resources that could be developed in Scotland can be managed within the GB electricity system.” In conclusion, the report called for accelerated developments of all renewable energy technologies as a way to reach Scotland’s targets and to stimulate the economy with new job and new developments in the clean energy field. “This report shows that it is vital that we make sure emerging technologies are fast-tracked so that they too can play their part in meeting Scotland’s renewables targets,” said Maf Smith, Chief Executive of the Scottish Renewables Forum, and a member of the group that produced the report. “However, FREDS has agreed that this cannot be done through holding back onshore wind, but quickening the pace that biomass, wave and tidal are brought to market and able to compete.”
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