Scotland’s Clean Energy Path Avoids New Nukes

Around the globe, many countries have set 2020 renewable energy goals with the hope of reducing emissions and dependence on expensive foreign oil and gas imports.

Scotland is right on track for its goal of 100 percent energy from renewables by 2020, according to a new government report. The Electricity Generation Policy Statement (EGPS) released by the Scottish government emphasized emissions reduction by means of carbon capture and storage for fossil fuel power plants as well as addition of renewable energy generation instead of new nuclear plants.

image via government of Scotland

Nuclear energy currently comprises nearly a third of the country’s electricity generation (see graph above). But the government predicts that if major changes can be put into effect in the coming decades, nuclear will become a smaller percentage of the mix and overall emissions will drop drastically, with carbon being eliminated completely from emissions by 2030. If succesful, the government predicts that household electricity prices will also fall from the projected 2020 cost of £1,379 to £1,285.

Scotland’s goal might not be so far-fetched. The country already boasts a relatively high percentage of renewables: nearly a fifth of the country’s power is from hydro and other renewable generation sources, more than any other country in the United Kingdom.

Wave and tidal power may become more significant sources of electricity generation for Scotland as well, as the country is surrounded by water and has easy access to waves. Scotland houses the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) that is busy researching and developing wave and tidal power. Devices there range from small underwater wind turbines to large 500 kilowatt (kW) and even 800 kW wave and tidal devices.

Shifra Mincer is a freelance journalist and passionate tweeter (@Shiframincer) currently living in Israel. Before moving to Israel to apprentice with a homebirth midwife, Shifra worked as Associate Editor of AOL Energy, and was a member of the launch team that got the site up and running. Shifra has over a half a decade of experience in journalism and has written on women's health, green technology, politics and regulation of the energy industry, energy financial news, and local news. While studying for her B.A. at Harvard College, Shifra worked as a news editor for the Harvard Crimson. Shifra is also a yoga teacher and a birth doula and is hoping to create an active Jewish birth community through her web venture

1 Comment

  • Reply March 13, 2012


    I wonder what services the people of Scotland will do without, or how much extra tax they will have to pay to support the ludicrous costs of renewable energy. The Royal Academy of Engineers reports that onshore wind costs twice as much as conventional nuclear and offshore wind three times as much. You don’t need experts to spell it out for you – with under 30% capacity factors, intermittency, back-up power generation and pumped storage – you know it’s ludicrous; you know it’s wishful thinking; you know a U turn is inevitable, after your ‘trusted’ elected representatives have poured your hard earned taxes down the drain.

    Get behind Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs). They’re half the price of conventional nuclear, so they’ll be one quarter or one sixth of the price of renewables. See this blog post for what your support could bring about:  

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