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Scotland to Run Off 100% Renewable Energy by 2025

Scotland to Run Off 100% Renewable Energy by 2025

While many countries are complaining about the Copenhagen requirements, other countries are striving to go above and beyond the call of duty. Last week Northern Ireland stated that they were hoping to have 40 percent of the country running off renewable energy. This week, new First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond went even further, stating that the country could be running off of 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

This ambitious goal happened a week after the SNP administration upped Scotland’s renewable energy goal from 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020. Salmond announced the 100 percent goal in front of the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference citing new Offshore Wind “Route Map” that would focus first on key areas to achieve immediate results:

  • Investment in infrastructure;
  • Appropriate supply chain;
  • Ongoing innovation of technologies and practices;
  • Regulation of and access to the electricity grid;
  • Managing the marine environment;
  • Necessary and available skills;
  • Finance [Source: NewEnergy]

and also cited priority recommendations to give Scotland the best chance at securing the best-case scenario route map which includes increasing supply and demand of renewable energy, up-skilling or re-skilling of workforces, bringing in large investments and providing incentives to harbor and port owners for offshore wind farms. For the project to be successful, over £200 billion would be needed by 2020 for any chance of success. While this number may sound large, Salmond is confident that they will receive the funding and states, “Investment on this scale established today’s North Sea oil and gas industry. Scotland’s second wave of offshore energy offers unique investment opportunities…” [Source: STV news].

Salmond’s confidence that Scotland could run off of 100 percent renewable energy is also not unfounded. Scotland currently has under 3 GW of renewable energy capacity, mostly from onshore wind turbines, but it has the potential to generate up to 63 GW of low-carbon electricity, under six times more than the current model of fossil fuels and renewable energy. Scotland’s major source of energy would come from offshore windfarms and tidal stream power, with hyrdopower, biomass and geothermal making up a small fraction of the total power [Source: Treehugger]. Scotland has already tapped into tidal power after creating the world’s largest tidal power plant unveiled at the beginning of September 2010. This power plant generates enough power for 1,000 homes (around 1 MW of energy) [Source: Wired]. The coasts of Scotland could potentially harness around a quarter of Europe’s potential offshore wind and tidal capacity and a tenth of its wave resource. Besides being better for the environment, creating alternate power generators would also lead to 60,000 more jobs with 28,000 directly servicing domestic and international wind markets [Source: Business 7].

While Scotland would be weening the country off of fossil fuels, it will continue to maintain some coal and nuclear power plants to supply surplus energy to other countries, most notably the UK. This will actually mean that Scotland produces only 63 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Still, the aim is much higher than the baseline 20 percent standard for the rest of the EU nations and certainly higher than the US.


Jasmine Greene

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7:04AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

We're now aiming for 2020 and we're on target. Lots of green jobs too.

4:15AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

When I lived in Scotland 20 years ago, they had a lot of hydroelectricity, but in this article it states that it is just a small fraction of the total. I wonder if it declined due to lack of investment or lack of technology? Here in Iceland I think all of our electricity is hydro or geothermal.

1:40AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Needs more wind and solar.

1:35AM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

Fantastic !

8:54AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Why on earth take a chance with the dangers of nuclear power that is not needed by Scotland - seems crazy! Great they have such great RE targets though.

3:32AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Almost makes me want to move to Scotland!

Except if I did that, I wouldn't be able to effect much change here in the States...

3:21AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

This is incredible...sure do hope they do that even earlier than 2025, it is possible if we believe! remember that! If you don't believe you won't succeed ;)

6:45PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

This is awesome! Go Scotland!

9:45PM PDT on Jul 12, 2011

If wall streets energy forms weren't entrenched with each other a new energy form would be enacted immediately; integrated and functioning within 5 years.

6:09PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

This is a defining moment for humanity. Are you up to the challenge of helping to create a new energy paradigm?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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