A new WWF-backed study by consultancy giant DNV-GL shows that Scotland can go 100% fossil fuel-free by the year 2030, and that it could reduce carbon intensity from 271 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour to 50g CO2/kwh. The plan outlined in the report is separate from the government’s goal of providing 100% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, which currently would still allow for the use of coal and gas in energy generation.
The DNV-GL report outlines the 2030 decarbonization policy that would, in theory, see carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology fitted to 2.5GW of gas power plants. But the report says CCS is not needed to decarbonize Scotland’s electricity sector and that “a renewables-based, efficient, flexible, electricity system is perfectly feasible by 2030.” With Scotland’s well-documented abundance of wind, wave and tidal energy, that is more than feasible, especially as renewables are already the country’s biggest electricity generator—outstripping nuclear, coal and gas. In fact, according to The Guardian, in November wind turbines produced more than 100% of the country’s domestic electricity needs.
It is the country’s numerous planned wind, tidal and wave projects that the report believes makes Scotland “more than adequate” to hit the decarbonization target—while allowing for substantial electricity exports to the rest of the UK. The cost of implementing such a plan would also be financially beneficial as well as environmental. The report states that the 2030 plan would be significantly less than the £1.85 billion CCS-dependent plan at £663 million, due to wind power being significantly cheaper than its fossil fuel equivalents.
Speaking to The Guardian, Paul Gardner, lead author of the report for DNV GL, said: “Our technical analysis shows that a system with an extremely high proportion of renewable electricity generation located in Scotland can be secure and stable. There is no technical reason requiring conventional fossil and nuclear generation in Scotland. Scotland has plenty of renewables in the pipeline to cut the carbon from its power supply by 2030, particularly if we see progress on reducing electricity demand. And crucially, Scotland can continue to be an electricity exporting nation.”
In order to make the report a reality, there are a number of policy recommendations that are needed to attract investment. renewables-powered Scotland. One of these is a “clear regulatory signal” that the government will not incentivize coal by tightening the emissions performance standards for existing coal plants and setting a UK-wide decarbonization target to match that in Scotland.
via The Guardian