By tapping and further developing their already robust stock of renewable energy resources, Scotland may very well achieve fossil fuel freedom in 15 years.
Photo courtesy Lumens Borealis
It’s a new year: Resolutions have been made. Scheme, sweat, and save all you want to achieve your latest iteration of “new year, new you,” but one country’s lofty, long term goal will likely dwarf your ambitions.
By 2030, Scotland aims to be completely free of fossil fuels.
A new report by environmental organization DNV GL, and endorsed by the WWF, examining the country’s policy target has deemed that the Scottish government’s plan, as fantastic as it sounds, is actually completely realistic. Broken down, the plan pinpoints reducing carbon intensity by almost 82 percent and satisfying all electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. Thus, coal and gas would not be completely erased from the map.
“The report shows that not only is a renewable, fossil-fuel free electricity system perfectly feasible in Scotland by 2030, it’s actually the safe bet,” said Gina Hanrahan, WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer.
Capitalizing on an already robust stock of renewable energy resources, Scotland will continue to invest in and develop likeminded projects. Although the current plan assumes that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will be operational—a point the WWF is wary of as this is still in its formative stages and has yet to be debuted in a commercial capacity in the UK—WWF experts say that the Scots can still reach their goal sans CCS if the renewables trajectory follows course as expected. To put into context just how effective and impressive Scotland’s renewable energy sources are, consider that they leave nuclear, coal, and gas in the dust when it comes to electricity production, and output from wind turbines fulfilled more than 100 percent of the country’s electricity demand this past November.
That’s not to say Scotland’s plan is airtight, though. The report points out that Scotland will need to seek additional investment to complete the proposed renewables projects, and suggests implementing regulations that won’t incentivize the use of coal.
Other countries looking to kick fossil fuels entirely include Denmark, aiming for a deadline of 2050.