1. Electricity plays a central role in the life and lives of the nation. Its generation, and the economic and the environmental benefits which could arise through a shift from fossil fuel generation to a portfolio comprising renewable and cleaner thermal generation, are matters of considerable importance to the Scottish Government.
2. This Electricity Generation Policy Statement 2013 ( EGPS) examines the way in which Scotland generates electricity, and considers the changes which will be necessary to meet the targets which the Scottish Government has established, and reflects both views from industry and other stakeholders and also developments in UK and EU electricity policy.
3. It looks at the sources from which that electricity is produced, the amount of electricity which we use to meet our own needs and the technological and infrastructural advances and requirements which Scotland will require over the coming decade and beyond.
4. The Scottish Government's policy on electricity generation is that Scotland's generation mix should deliver:
- a secure source of electricity supply;
- at an affordable cost to consumers;
- which can be largely decarbonised by 2030;
- and which achieves the greatest possible economic benefit and competitive advantage for Scotland including opportunities for community ownership and community benefits.
5. The EGPS is constructed around a number of relevant targets and related requirements:
- delivering the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 as part of a wider, balanced electricity mix, with thermal generation playing an important role though a minimum of 2.5 GW of thermal generation progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage ( CCS);
- enabling local and community ownership of at least 500 MW of renewable energy by 2020;
- lowering final energy consumption in Scotland by 12%;
- demonstrating carbon capture and storage ( CCS) at commercial scale in Scotland by 2020, with full retrofit across conventional power stations thereafter by 2025-30;
- seeking increased interconnection and transmission upgrades capable of supporting projected growth in renewable capacity.
6. Scotland's renewables potential is considerable. Figures published on the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change website in May 2013 estimated that, between April 2010 and January 2013, the industry announced projects amounting to over 9,000 jobs and £13 billion investment in Scotland. We know that our renewables potential will be capable of generating much more than enough to meet domestic demand for electricity. The remainder could be exported to the rest of the UK and continental Europe to assist other countries in meeting their binding renewable electricity and decarbonisation targets.
7. The EGPS is structured as follows:
- Energy demand reduction - brief look at the Scottish Government's Energy Efficiency Action Plan ( EEAP), against the backdrop of a fall in final energy consumption of 7.4% in 2009 compared to the previous year.
- Renewables - the importance of renewables in the light of the Scottish Government's 100% target mentioned above, our target for at least 500 MW of renewable energy (electricity and heat) to be in local and community ownership by 2020, and in the context of the Renewables Routemap and the related heat and transport targets.
- CCS - the Scottish Government's policy is that renewable generation should operate alongside upgraded and more efficient thermal stations, and that there should be a particularly strong role for CCS, where Scotland has the natural advantages and resources which could enable it to become a world leader.
- Nuclear - the EGPS confirms that nuclear energy will be phased out in Scotland over time, with no new nuclear build taking place in Scotland. As we have seen with regards to Hunterston B, subject to the relevant safety case being made, this does NOT preclude extending the operating life of Scotland's existing nuclear stations to help maintain security of supply over the next decade while the transition to renewables and cleaner thermal generation takes place.
- Bioenergy - confirmation that biomass should be used in small heat only stations and those fitted with good quality CHP, off gas-grid where possible, the better to contribute to meeting the Scottish Government's target of 11% of heat demand to be sourced from renewables by 2020.
- Role of electricity storage - developments in this area, while financially and technologically challenging, can help address the variability of certain forms of renewable generation
- Transmission and distribution - the EGPS reaffirms the important role that Scotland can play in developing greater onshore and offshore grid connections within and across the UK and Europe. It continues to press for a sensible regulatory regime - in particular an equitable outcome on charging - and also looks at the importance of (and need to build upon) the Irish Scottish Links on Energy Study ( ISLES) 1 and the importance of developing North Sea grid.
- Modelling the target of the equivalent of 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 - modelling commissioned by the Scottish Government has confirmed that this target is technically feasible . The work, summarised at Annex B of this report, also looks at the changes to the generation mix and power flows which will be required.
- Market factors - the EGPS also reiterates the need for a coherent and effective outcome to the current process of Electricity Market Reform ( EMR) and the need for that outcome to respect the devolution settlement and help deliver Scotland's renewable energy and CCS potential.
8. A Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) of the EGPS (and Renewables Routemap) has also been completed, balancing the objectives and targets contained within those documents with more localised effects on environmental features such as landscapes and biodiversity.