Hydro power to push Scotland nearer to 100% renewable energy target

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 18 Feb 2015 22:23

A new hydroelectric dam, set to be built on the River Allt Coire Chaorach, near Crianlarich, is set to be yet another instalment that will help push Scotland to the 100% renewable energy mark by 2020.

The £8.5 million investment, largely put forward by the Green Investment Bank, is set to generate up to eight gigawatt hours of electricity per year – creating substantial jobs and growth in the process.

Speaking about the project, Jane Wilson of Jewson Tools, who helps young people into jobs in the construction and sustainability industries, said: “It’s these kind of projects that provide great amounts of jobs in local areas. The more we strive for renewable energy, the more jobs we will create; it’s that simple.”

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of The Green Investment Bank, described: "The UK is in the process of transforming how it generates its power.

"In future we will see less reliance on a small number of large power stations and more focus on a network of smaller, locally generated, renewable sources of power.

"Hydro is one example of how we can do this and we are delighted to play our part in helping this market grow, bringing investment to rural communities along the way."

It is thought that at some point this year, Scotland will reach the halfway mark in its drive to achieve its 100% renewable energy pledge.

In the first half of 2014, the country showed a 30% increase in its renewable energy output, which sat at 46.4% in 2013 and 39.9% in 2017.

That said, Scotland actually failed to meet its climate targets in 2010, as greenhouse emissions rose by 1.9% according to figures from 2009. Although Holyrood blamed the emissions on exceptional “cold snaps”, the excuse was heavily criticised by opposition politicians.

Speaking at the time, Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative SMP and convener of the Holyrood energy committee, commented: "The biggest problem with the SNP's renewable energy target is that it's completely underpinned by wind power.

"Not only is that an unreliable and intermittent source, but it's led to turbines blighting communities across the whole country."

Overall, EU nations are said to be on track to meeting the 2020 targets, although Britain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have been found to be lagging behind the rest, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

In contrast, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Latvia all found more than one third of their energy originating from renewable sources during 2013.

Talking to Reuters, Hans Bruyninickx, the EEA executive director, said that renewables were becoming “one of Europe’s great success stories.

"We can go even further: if we support innovation in this area it could become a major motor of Europe's economy, bringing down emissions while creating jobs," he said.

Interestingly, 60% of renewable energy in the EU comes from biomass.

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