The Scottish Government has a strong history of support for renewable generation, with a huge amount of our current onshore wind capacity being built in response to Scotland's separate Renewables Obligation (RO). This, along with our ambitious targets, has helped send the clearest signal possible about our renewable aspirations.
While the RO has now been replaced by the UK Government's Contract for Difference scheme, the platform that it built in Scotland remains a powerful indicator of the extent of our renewable generating potential.
Onshore wind is a cheap and reliable source of electricity generation. Scotland's resource and commitment have seen us lead the way in onshore wind deployment and support across the UK; provisional figures from 2020 show that renewable technologies generated the equivalent of 95.9% of gross electricity consumption, with 58% of that being generated by onshore wind developments. This is a remarkable achievement.
Our net zero commitment presents the perfect opportunity to revisit and reassess our original Onshore Wind Policy Statement, published in 2017. That's why I am publishing this consultation – so that you can help us update our onshore wind policy for Scotland in this critical period up to 2030.
Onshore wind remains vital to Scotland's future energy mix, and we will need much more as we continue our progress to meet Scotland's legally binding net zero target. This consultation, and your input and evidence, will help support work that we are doing to establish an ambition for the additional onshore wind capacity needed to help Scotland achieve net zero, as set out in the cooperation agreement between Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party.
In the delivery of this essential additional capacity, we will expect engagement from industry in our indigenous supply chain, ensuring that economic benefit from these developments is felt the length and breadth of the country. We continue to encourage communities to engage with the planning process and recognise the significance of the community benefit schemes resulting from these projects.
However, we are determined to ensure that any capacity is developed in a way which is fully aligned with, and continues to protect, our natural heritage and native flora and fauna.
By acting now, we can set Scotland on a pathway to meeting our ambitious climate change targets in a way that is aligned to our Economic Recovery Implementation Plan, supports a Just Transition and delivers opportunities for all.
I urge you to respond to this consultation, and to help us ensure that the final policy statement provides an ambitious, strong and stable framework for onshore wind development in Scotland.
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport
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