NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SCOTLAND
138. Current peak demand for electricity is met by around 6,000mW of capacity. Based on demand growing at a rate of up to 1% per year and a capacity margin of 25%, Scotland will require between 2,000 and 2,500mW of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020. This represents a build rate of around 120 to 150mW per year. The Executive has established a Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) to promote electricity generation from renewable sources; to develop technology, jobs and exports; to produce action plans for marine energy and biomass technology, and to build synergies between Scotland's existing offshore expertise and the commercialisation of offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies.
139. The key improvements to the electricity transmission system to facilitate the development of Scotland's renewable energy resources are the rebuilding of the grid spine between Denny and Beauly; the upgrading of the interconnector South; and a new link to the Western Isles. Argyll and Bute, the Northern Highlands, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders are areas where the transmission system needs to be strengthened. Consideration is being given to reinforcement or replacement of the link between Orkney and the mainland and a new subsea link to Shetland. While grid reinforcement will in general take place along existing routes, some new connections and route modifications will be necessary. The routing of new strategic connections will need to take account of opportunities for unlocking the potential of additional renewable energy resources.
140. The UK Government will legislate to establish a Renewable Energy Zone to provide a regulatory framework for projects beyond territorial waters. It will also strengthen the regulatory regime which applies within territorial waters. It may be possible to adapt coastal facilities created to support the oil and gas industry to new uses related to the development of renewable energy. There may also be opportunities to site new renewable energy facilities where they can take advantage of the transmission capacity released by the closure of existing power stations. Small-scale, community-based renewable energy projects can make a valuable contribution to rural development, and help to support the sustainable development of island communities in particular. Together, they can make a significant cumulative contribution to meeting Scotland's energy needs.