The Scottish Ministers have set a target of generating 40% (since quantified as 6 GW) of Scotland's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and this is by no means a cap. The importance of using clean and sustainable energy from renewable sources will continue to increase as a result of the need to tackle climate change and ensure secure and diverse energy supplies.
The Scottish Ministers will continue to support the full range of renewable generation technologies, including micro-renewables, to enable Scotland to realise its considerable renewable energy potential.
The planning framework set out in this SPP will help ensure the delivery of renewable energy targets as well as facilitating the development of a viable renewables industry in Scotland. The development of existing and new technologies has the potential to provide significant opportunities for Scotland to enhance its manufacturing capacity with associated economic and employment benefits. Such benefits, which may accrue both locally or nationally, should be fully taken into account when considering planning applications.
This SPP sets out how the planning system should manage the process of encouraging, approving and implementing renewable energy proposals when preparing development plans and determining planning applications. Planning authorities should use the development plan process to support the continuing growth of all renewable technologies by guiding developments to appropriate locations. In particular, plans should be used to identify those areas likely to be suitable for wind farm developments.
Planning authorities should also use the development plan process to quantify the potential of their areas to accommodate renewable energy developments taking account of the issues set out in this SPP. An area's potential to accommodate renewable energy developments should be expressed as a local contribution and be quantified in megawatts.
Existing legislative powers, and those proposed in the Planning Bill, will ensure that local policies take account of this SPP.