Scottish renewable targets could add to fuel poverty

Scotland’s policy plans to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 could increase fuel poverty. This is the warning from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which has […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Scotland’s policy plans to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 could increase fuel poverty. This is the warning from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which has released a new report looking at this target from an engineering perspective.

The ‘Scottish Energy 2020?’ report points to troubling factors such as a reliance on intermittent sources of energy like wind and the billion-pound price tag on converting the infrastructure quickly enough to cope with the targets.

Imeche warns that the 100% target would require renewable energy capacity to be built at five times the rate of the last decade over the next nine years. It casts doubt on whether Scotland has a large enough skills and manufacturing base to make this happen.

Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “The Scottish Government is absolutely right to exploit the country’s huge potential for renewable energy, but we have serious concerns that the over-ambitious 2020 target will push up prices. Without any clear, workable and engineering-based plan of action, it is doubtful whether these targets are achievable at all.”

The Scottish Government firmly rebuffed the findings. A spokesman said: “This report does not properly represent our position. Our Renewables Routemap, published in June, sets out a clear strategy to achieve our electricity, heat, transport and energy efficiency targets, creating thousands of new jobs.”