Significant investment in renewables means Scotland is on the right course to meet ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by the end of the decade, the UK’s climate change watchdog has said.
In its first progress report on emissions reductions
, published today, the Committee on Climate Change
(CCC) said the country was making "good progress" on meeting its legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emission
s (GHG) by 42 per cent by 2020 – the most ambitious target set down by any Government.
The CCC said renewable
electricity deployment was happening fast enough and – in the case of renewable heat – faster than required to enable Scotland to meet the 2020 target. But it warned that emissions were likely to rise in 2010, following a fall of seven per cent in 2009, mainly due to the recession. It said further progress on Scotland’s targets would be dependent on how the Scottish Government implemented policies going forward.
"Good progress has been made by the Scottish Government in reducing emissions across the economy," David Kennedy, chief executive of the CCC said. "Going forward, it will be important for the Scottish Government to continue to support the implementation of policies at both UK and national level to further cut emissions, resulting in climate change and wider economic benefits."
Overall, emissions in Scotland have fallen by almost a third since the 1990 base year. In 2009, the latest year for which data is available, Scottish GHG emissions were estimated to be 51.0 million tonnnes of CO2 equivalent, a fall of 29 per cent since 1990. But the CCC said emissions were likely to rise in 2010 due to colder temperatures and increased economic activity.
The report found a main driver of carbon intensity reductions in Scotland has been investment
in renewables, which now account for 20 per cent of total generation – and 37 per cent of total UK renewable generation in 2010.
Generation from renewables increased by 155 per cent in Scotland between 2003 and 2010, from 3.7 terrawatt hours (TWh) to 9.5 TWh, with installed capacity increasing 160 per cent from 1.7 gigawatts (GW) to 4.4 GW over the same period.
Wind generation increased almost 10-fold over the same period, from 0.5 TWh to 4.9 TWh, and accounted for 48 per cent of the UK’s wind generation in 2010.
The CCC report concluded that capacity of renewable electricity being added to the grid was at "the rate required to meet targets".
Meanwhile, the report said renewable heat was outperforming its targets, having almost doubled output in 2010 to an estimated 0.441 GW equivalent to 2.8 per cent of Scotland’s forecast non-electrical heat demand in 2020 compared to the previous estimate in 2008/09. The output is equivalent to 2.8 per cent of Scotland’s forecast non-electrical heat demand in 2020. Scotland’s target is for 11 per cent of the country’s heat demand to come from renewable sources by 2020.
The Committee assessed the progress that has been made towards the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Scotland. It noted that progress had been stalled on the rollout of CCS to all coal and gas-fired stations in the 2020s because of the collapse of the Longannet demonstration project in the UK’s first CCS funding competition. Nevertheless, the report said preparations were progressing for CCS projects, including putting in place a regulatory framework for each stage of CCS.
The report also concluded there has been some progress made in improving the efficiency of buildings
. In particular it said "there has been good progress against targets for energy efficiency
improvement, boiler replacement, and community heating projects, in the residential sector. But, in order to sustain this progress, it said the Scottish Government would have to play an important role in ensuring UK-wide policies such as the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive were adopted in Scotland.
On the public and business sector front, the CCC report said a number of policies were already in place to drive down emissions, including, at a UK level, the Carbon Reduction Commitment, the rollout of smart meters, and Climate Change Agreements.
At a national level, policies included a £20 million central energy efficiency fund established to support the public sector and a virtual energy and resource service for business launched by the Scottish Government in 2011, due to be fully operational in 2013-2014.
However, the report called for full rollout and implementation of carbon management programmes in the public sector and new incentives to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures by SMEs, including rollout of Energy Performance Certificates and Energy Display Certificates, and possible regulation of minimum performance standards.
The CCC report also said there had been some progress on purchasing more efficient vehicles, piloting public transport initiatives and in encouraging farmers to take up measures to tackle climate change.
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