05.02.2013
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Energy transition

Scotland to "decarbonize" power sector by 2030

Our coverage of countries on the forefront of the transition to renewable power continues with Scotland's announcement last week that it plans to reduce carbon emissions in its power sector from 347 grams per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to 50 grams by 2030.

While England remains a bit skeptical about renewables, Scotland is at least fond of wind power. The Scots currently have more turbines installed than England, Wales, and Northern Ireland combined. Statistics are not easy to find, however, with Scottish Renewables not having updated its figures since 2009. The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that Scotland has 46 percent of the UK's installed wind power capacity.

One reason why statistics on Scotland are so hard to find is that "energy policy is not a devolved matter," as Ed Davey, UK Energy Secretary of State, commented to Business Green on hearing Scotland's plans. In other words, Scotland technically does not have the right to go its own way. Indeed, other UK citizens argue that Scotland should have to pay for its own renewable power; the cost is currently spread across all UK citizens.

 - Scotland is a leader in wind power within the UK, but some UK citizens don't want to share the bill for that success.
Scotland is a leader in wind power within the UK, but some UK citizens don't want to share the bill for that success.
Repower Systems SE

But one thing that all countries in the UK seem to agree on is lowering carbon emissions, so the question is whether England will go along with Scotland's plans if they include nuclear, which is considered a low-carbon source of electricity. Unfortunately, Business Green does not even mention nuclear.

The report also contains two errors. First, it conflates energy with electricity – a common journalistic mistake – when it writes that "the Scottish government has today unveiled plans to decarbonize its energy sector by 2030." In fact, Scotland is only talking about its power sector and does not seem to have announced any news plans for mobility or heat.

Second, the report states that Scotland has "the best emissions reductions in Western Europe, ahead of Germany, Denmark and England and is more than halfway to meeting a 2020 goal of reducing emissions 42 percent against the 1990 baseline." But if Scotland has reduced its emissions by 21 percent since 1990, it is far behind Germany, which had already reduced emissions by 27 percent against the 1990 baseline by 2011. (Craig Morris)

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