Via earthtimes.org, 22-05-2011

Scotland announced on May 20, 2011, that it is targeting to use only renewable energy by 2020, increasing its former target of 80 percent by that year.

According to a press release from the independent, not-for-profit international organization The Climate Group, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond wants Scotland to become ”the green powerhouse of Europe.” The press release quotes him as saying that ”Because the pace of development has been so rapid, with our 2011 target already exceeded, we can now commit to generating the equivalent of 100 percent of Scotland’s own electricity demand from renewable resources by 2020. By then we intend to be generating twice as much electricity as Scotland needs - just over half of it from renewables, and just under half from other conventional sources. We will be exporting as much electricity as we consume. So we will continue to work with industry and governments at local, UK and European level to build on what we have achieved. We will now move still further and faster to secure our place as the green energy powerhouse of the continent of Europe. Offshore wind will play a key role in achieving our ambitions.”

Scotland holds about 25 percent of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource and 10 percent of its potential wave capacity. Last week also, Scotland secured lease agreements for offshore wind developments in Scottish waters.

Renewable energy project developer Vattenfall and marine energy technology developer Pelamis Wave Power won a demonstration lease for the development of a 10MW marine energy project west of Shetland in Scottish waters. Also, Aquamarine Power gained leases for two large-scale marine energy projects off the coast of Scotland, including a 10MW project near north-west Lewis and a 30MW project put forward for the Saltire Prize, Scotland’s £10 million challenge to speed the commercial development of marine energy.

There are now 17 wave and tidal projects leased for development by The Crown Estate in Scottish waters, plus testing berths at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Eleven marine energy projects in the Pentland Firth alone are expected to attract £6 billion in investment.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said in a government press release that ”These projects further confirm that Scotland is the world leading destination for marine energy development and deployment. The vast majority of wave and tidal projects in the UK - and Europe - are in Scotland and new projects in Lewis and Shetland show the continued growth, talent and confidence in Scotland’s marine renewables industry.”

He also called for control of the resources, saying that ”With 11 projects in the Pentland Firth alone set to attract around 6 billion pounds of investment, and the natural marine resources to support many, many more developments, Scotland must have control of the Crown Estate to ensure the development of our marine and offshore renewables industry brings direct benefit to all of Scotland’s people.”

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond also stressed that Ofgem (the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets in the U.K.) should include and account for Scotland’s clean energy policies when it sets its directions. ”We lead the UK in producing onshore green energy, in developing a world leading offshore and marine renewables industry and in having the most ambitious renewable energy targets,” he said.

”I therefore want Scottish Ministers to be involved in drafting the proposed new strategy and policy statement which sets the regulator’s direction,” he added.

The Scottish government has taken steps to become more independent in its control over its renewable energy resources, criticizing the UK electricity market reforms for jeopardising its potential to do so. The Scottish government has ruled out building new nuclear plants.



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