Scottish offshore wind
25th August 2011
Prospects for Energy from Waste Projects
25th August 2011

Scotland’s renewable ambitions

alex-salmond-oyster-credit-aquamarine-power A major drive to develop offshore wind, wave and tidal power aims to make a Scotland a world leader in renewables over the next decade.

The Scottish Government’s ambitions for renewable energy by 2020 cannot be doubted:

• 30 per cent of all energy consumed;

• 50 per cent of all energy generated;

• 100 per cent (equivalent) of electricity demand;

• 11 per cent of heat;

• 10 per cent of transport.

As of 2009, 20.9 per cent of all Scottish- generated energy was sourced from renewables. Scotland aims to generate twice the energy it needs i.e. 50 per cent used in Scotland and 50 per cent exported. Over 50 per cent of all energy will be from renewables (accounting for the 100 per cent equivalent of the domestic demand) and the remainder from non-renewable sources.

In 2009, 20.9 per cent of all Scottish- generated electricity came from renewable sources, equivalent to 27.4 per cent of electricity demand. The shares for renewable heat demand and renewable transport demand were 2.8 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

Energy is a Scottish strength. UK crude oil production (mostly from Scotland’s waters) peaked at 137.1 million tonnes in 1999 but has consistently fallen since that point, to 63 million tonnes in 2010.

In its place, Scotland can potentially offer significant shares of Europe’s marine energy: 25 per cent of offshore wind (see pages 44-45), 25 per cent of tidal and 10 per cent of wave. The estimates were made in Garrard Hassan’s 2001 report, ‘Scotland’s Renewable Resource’.

Around 30 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity is generated in Scotland.

The Scottish Government contends that the current grid charging system works against renewable development. Charges for connection and use increase further away from the UK’s main load centres (English cities).

It also advocates a devolved fossil fuel levy fund, to invest in renewables without a corresponding cut in the block grant. Devolving all offshore licensing to Scotland, it claims, would also develop carbon capture and storage.

For its part, the UK Government recognises Scotland’s renewable potential but emphasises that the benefits should be shared across the UK.

The Calman Commission did not find “a positive or detailed case against the current reservation of energy”. The British Electricity Trading and Transmission Arrangements (BETTA) allow for economies of scale and the National Grid keeps the charging methodology under continuous review.

Marine growth

In its current form, the Scotland Bill does not devolve specific energy powers but it does allow Scottish Government ministers to be consulted by the Chancellor on the appointment of the Scottish Crown Estate Commissioner.

Crucially, the commissioners can lease the seabed for renewable energy and carbon storage out to 200 miles. However, the Scottish Government says the Scotland Bill will have a “negligible” impact as the Commissioner has no power of his own. Instead, it wants the Crown Estate’s administration and revenues in Scotland to be fully devolved.

Scotland has traditionally had a high level of renewable energy from the hydro- electric dams of the Highlands. Back in 2000, 12.2 per cent of Scottish electricity came from renewables and 93.9 per cent of that was hydro. By 2009, the overall renewables share had reached 10,744 GWh (see table). Hydro remained the largest source but only just ahead of wind and wave (treated as one statistical category), while biofuels were a relatively small minority. Around 1,200 MW of small-scale new hydro development may be possible.

Scotland’s renewable electricity (2009)

Source GWh
Hydro 4,877
Wind and wave 4,558
Landfill gas 534
Other biofuels 776
Total 10,744

Source: UK Department of
Energy and Climate Change

whitehall-wind-farm2-credit-russell-fallis To put renewables in context, 44.3 per cent of Scottish electricity came from fossil fuels in 2009 with a further 32.6 per cent from nuclear power. In future, any new coal-fired station would need to demonstrate carbon capture and storage on 300MW of its capacity. Carbon capture and storage projects are planned at Longannet (Fife), Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and Hunterston (North Ayrshire).

As of June 2011, Scotland deployed 2.4GW of onshore wind generated by 1,367 turbines on 117 sites. A further 1GW is under construction: 450 turbines at 20 sites. A further 2GW is consented: 755 turbines at 76 sites.

At the start of the summer, 2.75MW of wave and tidal plant was operating in Scotland, mostly at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. A further 4.3MW was planned up to the end of 2011. A full capacity of 1.6GW by 2020 is considered “theoretically achievable” in the Scottish Government’s Renewables Routemap.

The £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund is upgrading port and manufacturing facilities and the supply chain. The £13 million WATERS fund supports wave and tidal R&D.

Reaching the renewable heat target (11 per cent by 2020) will require district heating and extensive retro-fitting in homes. The UK Renewable Heat Incentive, announced in March, is seen as critical and is expected to result in rapid growth. Just over half (51 per cent) of Scottish heat demand is domestic.

What next

The SNP manifesto’s new aims include:

• completing the strategic environmental assessment for offshore wind this year;

• publishing integrated marine plans for all Scottish waters later in 2011;

• ensuring 130,000 jobs in the low carbon economy by 2020 (up from 70,000 today);

• a green equity fund to support community renewable energy projects; and

• 2GW of renewable production on Forestry Commission land by 2020.

The increase in low carbon jobs includes another 26,000 jobs in renewable energy. An agri-renewables strategy will also be developed and is due to be published by next summer.

At Westminster, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is lobbying other Cabinet ministers to locate the UK Government’s green investment bank in Edinburgh.

Saltire Prize

Worth £10 million, the Saltire Prize will be awarded to the developer that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output over a set minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.

The prize was announced in December 2008 and the deadline for applications is January 2015. The qualification period starts next June and ends in June 2017, with the winner announced in the following month.

As of August 2011, 150 registrations of interest had been received from 31 countries and three applicants had entered the process: Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power and Scottish Power Renewables.