The world is facing a climate emergency with the impacts of climate change already being felt across the globe. From floods in Pakistan to drought across Europe and last winter's serious storms, the damage that unmitigated climate change can cause is already clear to see.
Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine and the resulting extraordinary rise in the price of fossil fuels, in particular gas, demonstrates that continuing to rely on commodities that are subject to global price shocks is no longer an option.
That is why we must accelerate our transition towards a net zero society. Scotland already has some of the most ambitious targets in the world to meet net zero but we must go further and faster to protect future generations from the spectre of irreversible climate damage.
We are at a crucial juncture in energy policy at Scottish and UK levels, and we must collectively find and support solutions that deliver affordability of energy, for the long-term. This is particularly vital given the damaging impacts of Brexit which is already having a serious effect on our ability to trade and work with our neighbours.
Technologies that take decades to deliver and are expensive for consumers, such as new nuclear fission, are not an acceptable solution and to continue pursuing these technologies will only add to the enormous pressures facing households and businesses.
In addition we cannot repeat the mistakes of the past and must ensure that our transition to a net zero economy is a just transition, providing opportunity and benefits for all.
Scotland already has a long, positive history of harnessing renewable energy. We have an abundance of renewable energy resources and strengths in skills and innovation that together make Scotland one of the best places in the world for renewables investment.
Scotland has been a frontrunner in onshore wind and, while other renewable technologies are starting to reach commercial maturity, continued deployment of onshore wind will be key to ensuring our 2030 targets are met.
With nearly 9 GW currently operational in Scotland onshore wind is a cheap and reliable source of zero carbon electricity.
Despite being excluded from the previous two auction rounds, onshore wind achieved the second lowest overall strike price across all technologies at the Contract for Difference Allocation Round 4, at £42.47 per MWh, which is around 45% lower than it cleared during Allocation Round 1 in 2015.
Scotland is doing its part but we cannot do this alone. The UK Government's recent relaxation of rules regarding the deployment of onshore wind is to be welcomed but it must be a lasting decision. Onshore wind has the ability to be deployed quickly, is good value for consumers and is widely supported by the public.
This statement, which is the culmination of an extensive consultative process with industry, our statutory consultees and the public, sets an overall ambition of 20 GW of installed onshore wind capacity in Scotland by 2030.
While imperative to meet our net zero targets it is also vital that this ambition is delivered in a way that is fully aligned with, and continues to enhance, our rich natural heritage and native flora and fauna, and supports our actions to address the nature crisis and the climate crisis.
The Scottish Government will continue to work together with industry, non-governmental organisations, our agencies, communities and wider partners to achieve this.
By acting now, we can set Scotland on a pathway to meeting our ambitious climate change targets in a way that is aligned to the needs of our citizens, supports a just transition and delivers opportunities for all.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport
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