A new target to generate 50 per cent of Scotland's electricity from renewables by 2020, with an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011, has been set. The Scottish Government's previous renewable target was 40 per cent by 2020.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said the target was now more transparent and challenging, as it takes account of transmission losses between the source of electricity and consumers, and would increase confidence in Scotland's renewables industry. The 2011 target equals 5,000 Megawatts in installed capacity, twice as much as capacity at the recent Green Energy Day.

Speaking ahead of meetings and a seminar in Brussels to update the European Union on Scotland's energy objectives, Mr Mather said: "In setting this ambitious 50 per cent target, the Scottish Government is encouraging the development of low carbon technologies such as renewable energy, micro-generation, combined heat and power, carbon capture and storage while pursuing greater energy efficiency savings.

"Scotland is already a world leader in the energy and engineering sectors and is known for its innovation and talent. Harnessing this talent to generate more renewable energy will give us a vibrant energy sector that makes a significant contribution to Scotland's future prosperity and help build increased, sustainable economic growth. "The absence of new nuclear power stations in our energy mix will not cause an energy gap in a Scotland as we have the natural resources and ingenuity to become a non-nuclear energy exporter.

Meanwhile, we believe that the risks and uncertainties of nuclear power, in terms of waste disposal, decommissioning, security and health concerns, or cost, are far too great.

"We do not, however, want renewable energy - whether it be onshore wind, tidal power or other developments - anywhere or at any price to the environment. "For onshore wind we have asked local authorities to prepare guidance including designating suitable areas and we are beginning work to identify locational issues for marine energy too. There is much more to come from renewables in the next few years."


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.