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National Planning Framework for Scotland




74. At present, electricity is generated by nuclear, coal and oil-fired power stations, hydroelectric schemes, wind farms and waste-energy power stations. More than 50% of the supply is generated by three nuclear power stations, all of which are expected to close over the next 25 years. Scotland's climate provides a great deal of potential for deriving energy from renewable sources such as wind, wave, tide and water. We have a long tradition of generating electricity from renewable sources. Post-war hydroelectric schemes meet about 11% of electricity demand. Other renewable energy sources, predominantly windfarms, currently meet nearly 2% of demand (see Map 12). With a number of large wind farms being developed in different parts of the country, the contribution from wind power is expected to rise substantially over the next 10 years.


75. The Executive has set a target of deriving 40% of the electricity generated in Scotland from renewable sources by 2020. The development of renewable energy technologies is being encouraged as a means of tackling climate change and promoting the Scottish economy. The aim is to realise Scotland's very large renewable energy potential while safeguarding the environment. The Executive is encouraging a mix of renewable energy technologies, with growing contributions from offshore wind, wave, tidal and solar facilities, and greater use of fuel from wood and other energy crops. The potential of some of these technologies has a strong spatial dimension. For, example, the North and West Coasts offer opportunities for harnessing the energy of tidal streams at locations which are well sheltered from ocean swells and prevailing winds.

76. The capacity of parts of the electricity grid needs to be increased to facilitate the development of renewable energy resources. The pattern of the existing grid reflects the relationship of existing power stations to settlement. However, the West and North Coasts and upland areas are where topography and climate offer the greatest potential for renewable energy development. Grid connections between rural energy resources and the centres of electricity consumption need to be improved. As potential renewable output is several times greater than current Scottish consumption, the potential for export is large. The interconnector to England will need to be upgraded if this potential is to be realised.