Chapter 1: Ambitions and Aspirations
The Scottish Government wishes to thank all our stakeholders and interested parties who engaged with the consultation on the draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement between October 2021 and January 2022. The responses we received were invaluable in developing and refining the Scottish Government's onshore wind policy.
1.1. Current Deployment
1.1.1. The Scottish Government has had a long-standing target to generate the equivalent of 100% of gross Scottish electricity consumption* from renewable sources by 2020, with figures showing that Scotland reached 98.8% in 2020.
* Gross electricity consumption refers to total electricity generation minus net exports
1.1.2. We must now go further and faster than before. We expect the next decade to see a substantial increase in demand for electricity to support net zero delivery across all sectors, including heat, transport and industrial processes.
1.1.3. National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios project that Scotland's peak demand for electricity will at least double within the next two decades. This will require a substantial increase in installed capacity across all renewable technologies.
1.1.4. Scotland hosts the majority of operational onshore wind capacity in the UK, and our aim is to maintain the supportive policy and regulatory framework which will enable us to increase that deployment.
1.1.5. As of June 2022, the UK has 14.6 GW of installed onshore wind, with 8.7 GW of this in Scotland. Onshore wind generated 17.2 GWh of electricity in 2021. Scotland additionally (as of June 2022) has as much as 11.3 GW of onshore wind currently in the pipeline, spread over 217 potential projects:
In Planning/Consenting Process
** Developments in the planning/consenting process have not yet been considered and given permission to proceed. Some of these projects will receive consent, but some may not, and it is unlikely that all of this noted capacity will be fully realised. A degree of duplication within the planning system must also be considered, where developments which have consent re-apply to adjust the parameters of that consent. This will also reduce the capacity which is deliverable from this overall figure.
1.2. Deployment Ambition to 2030
1.2.1. Our Climate Change Plan Update noted the need to develop 11-16 GW of renewable capacity through to 2032. This is consistent with RenewableUK's recently published 'Onshore Wind Industry Prospectus', which sets out the need for Scotland to develop an additional 12 GW of onshore wind, meaning a total of 20.4 GW installed capacity, by 2030.
1.2.2. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has developed four exploratory scenarios for emissions to 2050. These estimate that, in every scenario, the UK will require a total of 25-30 GW of installed onshore wind capacity by 2050 to meet government targets - which would mean doubling the current UK installed capacity.
1.2.3. The amount of capacity ultimately developed will continue to depend on a range of factors, which are covered in this document. These will also be considered alongside:
- the development of other generating technologies and innovations; and,
- the decarbonisation pathways and demand growth across other sectors such as heat, transport and industry.
1.3. Our 20 GW Ambition
1.3.1. Our Programme for Government 2022/2023 committed the Scottish Government to publishing this final Onshore Wind Policy Statement and a Vision for Onshore Wind in Scotland, enabling up to 12 GW of onshore wind to be developed. It is vital to send a strong signal and set a clear expectation on what we believe onshore wind capacity will contribute in the coming years.
1.3.2. In line with this commitment, and reflecting the natural life cycles of existing windfarms, this statement sets a new ambition for the deployment of onshore wind in Scotland:A minimum installed capacity of 20 GW of onshore wind in Scotland by 2030.
1.3.3. This ambition will help support the rapid decarbonisation of our energy system, and the sectors which depend upon it, as well as aligning with a just transition to net zero whilst other technologies reach maturity.
1.4. Legislative Context
1.4.1. The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 (the Act) was passed by Scottish Parliament in September 2019. The Act commits Scotland to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest, and also sets two interim targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and by 90% by 2040. Meeting these targets will require decisive and meaningful action across all sectors.
1.4.2. The Climate Change Committee (CCC)'s 2022 Progress in Reducing Emissions in Scotland report emphasised that Scotland cannot deliver our net zero ambitions through devolved policy alone and will require clear and supportive policy from both UK and Scottish Governments and from our respective agencies.
1.4.3. Statutory consultees (SEPA, NatureScot, Historic Environment Scotland, Local Authorities and National Parks) play a crucial role in the delivery of our net zero targets, whilst providing expert advice on key considerations. As we increase deployment of onshore wind the pressures on agencies will continue to increase and we must continue to support delivery of their role. This should be considered by the Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group in due course. More details on this group are available at Chapter 2.
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