The Scottish National Party have announced their ambitious 2015 renewable energy targets. Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, aims to generate 50% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015 – eventually reaching 100% renewable energy by 2020.
At the RenewablesUK conference in Glasgow, where the new target was announced, Salmond described the potential for renewable energy as a “massive opportunity for Scotland”, which he believes could see the reindustrialisation of the Scottish coastline. 50% renewable energy is certainly achievable; it was only last year that Scotland beat their renewable energy target of 31% by around 4%.
The new target will bring a huge boost to the Scottish economy and it is expected to create about 4,500 new jobs, on top of the 11,000 the Scottish renewable energy sector already employs. Between April 2011 and June 2012 the renewable sector received an investment boost of £2.3billion, which is hoped will continue to grow with the new target. But members of the Scottish Green Party are concerned that the continued use of fossil fuels could have an impact on the renewable energy targets, both in Scotland and the continued UK effort.
The success of renewables in Scotland may inspire the UK government to focus more on the green sector, which up until now has gone unspoken. In the UK the green jobs and green businesses were one of the few areas boosting the UK’s recession hit economy, providing a third of recent economic growth. The UK’s green sector continues to grow employing nearly one million people, an industry that is now larger than car manufacturing and telecoms and continuing to grow.