The Scottish and Welsh governments have reaffirmed the crucial roles of renewable technologies, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in decarbonising their countries' electricity supply
In its draft electricity generation policy statement, the Scottish government confirms that by 2020, Scotland’s renewable energy sector should be generating enough power to supply 100% of the country’s total electricity demand.
According to its projections, the sector will need a generating capacity of 14–16 gigawatts (GW) to meet the target, and it already has 12GW of renewable capacity either deployed or in development and a further 17GW in scoping. The majority will be offshore and onshore wind, with marine technologies providing a growing proportion of the energy mix.
While confident in its renewables capacity, the Scottish government makes it clear that traditional oil, gas and coal power stations will remain online, alongside existing nuclear generators, to ensure security of supply and enable Scotland to export renewable energy to the rest of the UK.
Central to the continued use of fossil fuels is the development of effective CCS, with the Scottish government committing to have commercial-scale CCS demonstrated by 2020 and retrofitted to conventional power stations by 2030.
In the statement, which is open for consultation until 4 June, Scottish ministers also highlight the importance of energy efficiency, setting a countrywide energy-saving target of 12% consumption by 2020, compared with 2005–2007 levels.
As well as supporting public sector efficiency initiatives, the government pledges to create an energy- and resource-efficiency service to help Scottish businesses cut their energy use.
In a paper outlining its vision for a decarbonised energy supply, the Welsh Assembly government similarly agrees that efficiency will play a vital role in ensuring a cost-effective transition.
Alongside improving its advice to organisations on gaining energy efficiency, the government also promises to support energy-intensive sectors in managing the increasing costs of energy.
The Welsh Assembly also supports the development of CCS technology as important to decarbonising electricity generation, stating that without it natural gas cannot have a long-term future in the country’s energy mix, despite being a much cleaner energy source than oil or coal.
While wind, both offshore and onshore, and solar have their place in its strategy, Wales focuses in particular on the potential of marine technology to provide a significant proportion of future energy supply.
In its report, the Welsh government reveals that Wales’s coastal waters have the potential to generate more than 10GW of electricity, and that it is strongly in favour of deploying tidal technologies in the Severn Estuary.