Scotland Takes Lead In Renewable Energy ‘Revolution’
As the world struggles to cope with the skyrocketing oil prices Scotland has quietly but comprehensively taken lead among the few nations which seek to derive a major part of their energy needs from renewable sources in the future. EU has emerged as the global leader in the effort to promote clean energy. Germany, specifically has made highly notable & successful advances in this regard. Under a great PR exercise German parliament, the Reichstag, has gone completely ‘green’ as far as energy production is concerned. But the Scots aren’t much behind.
One of Europe’s busiest courts, the Sheriff’s Court in Glasgow is now home to the country’s largest solar panel system. The £500,000 project got monetary help through a grant from the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Although a small effort in comparison to the German initiative but the will & leadership required to move from fossil fuels to clean fuels is not lacking at all. The new system would not only make do a great job in the promotion of renewable energy in the country but also ensure energy efficiency & reduction in emissions.
When all the efficiency measures planned for the court are in place, the Scottish Courts Service believes solar power could provide around one fifth of the building’s electricity demand. It is estimated the photovoltaic system will cut £20,000 off the building’s energy bill and save nearly 40 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
Scotland has also taken highly innovative initiatives for promotion & use of renewable energy sources to power its economy. Recently the Glasgow City Council was provided with blueprint of a revolutionary idea of harnessing solar power. The plan, developed by Glasgow-based ZM Architecture, calls for deployment of floating lily-shaped solar panels in the Clyde river which will generate electricity & supply directly to the national grid. The company hopes that the city council would approve a pilot project which could eventually result in a large scale implementation of the project.
Artistic rendering of the proposed lily-shaped solar panels on River Clyde
The Scottish government is looking to harness all the available renewable energy sources & being placed conveniently gives Scotland an edge to go transform its national grid from the one which uses fossil fuels to the one broadly based on energy produced from renewable sources. The North Sea serves as virtual energy bank not only for offshore oil production but offshore wind energy as well. Approving two new wind energy projects Scotland took another step towards the EU goal of 20% energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Similar inroads are being made in the hydro generated power sector.
Next spring, the UK’s main hydroelectricity company, Scottish and Southern Energy, will switch on one of the largest green power plants being built in the UK – a 200MW hydro station buried in mountains at Glendoe near Loch Ness. Serviced by 10 miles of underground tunnels and a large dam, Glendoe will produce enough electricity to supply every house in Glasgow.
Private companies joining government’s efforts to adopt renewable resources as the prime source of energy is a highly encouraging sign for Scotland’s economy. As more companies plan even more massive clean energy projects the environment & the final consumers are the definite beneficiaries. The Scottish government must be praised for its efforts to make citizens feel responsible towards the environment.
Stagecoach, Scotland’s largest transport company, introduced a collaborative project involving the citizens. In exchange of spare cooking oil the citizens could get reduced busfare; the cooking oil is recycled into biofuels. The company, probably the first to launch such an initiative, hopes to become carbon neutral by year’s end. The company is also involved in an extensive tree planting program.
Scottish government has also increased the subsidies on solar & wind energy solutions for homeowners, communities & small industries. While announcing the three fold increase Finance Secretary, John Swinney, made clear his government’s intentions & laid out a model of microgeneration. He said:
Low carbon technologies in our renewable energy mix will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s future.
By tripling government funding for community microgeneration initiatives and reforming the planning system, the Scottish Government is putting in place the incentives for people to generate their own clean energy.
Scottish minister for Climate Change & Infrastructure talks about his government’s efforts for promoting renewable energy
Scotland has taken path breaking initiatives in the renewable energy sector. Its ambitious energy goals overshadow those put forward by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. While Britain struggles on the issue of use of nuclear energy for power generation Scotland has demonstrated that tough goals can be achieved without jeopardizing the nation’s security & risking any accidents.
Scotland plans to produce 31% of the total electricity from renewable sources by 2011, and 50% by 2020. And while the G8 countries fail to reach consensus over a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050, Scotland plans to cut its emissions by a whooping 80 per cent by 2050. If the government continues to show such strong will Scotland would become the world leader in renewable energy production triggering a global energy revolution.