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Scottish public sector could lead national ‘green energy revolution’

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Nestle and Mars have signed up to receive renewable energy from wind farms in Scotland. Image: Nestle.

Industry body Scottish Renewables has thrown down the gauntlet to the country’s public sector to lead a “green energy revolution”.

Scotland’s government is currently drafting a new energy strategy and the clean energy lobby has sought to increase pressure on Holyrood to set ambitious targets. Earlier this week the energy efficiency industry said it could create a further 9,000 jobs in Scotland if the government was supportive of its efforts.

Scottish Renewables has sought to build on this pressure and is now calling on local authorities, NHS boards, emergency services and other public organisations to help Scotland meet future climate change targets by adopting renewable electricity, heat and transport technologies.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said there is a “real opportunity” to make “significant changes” in the way Scotland generates and uses energy.

“Public bodies can use their planning, procurement and economic development powers to lead Scotland’s transition to a truly low-carbon, sustainable energy system.

“Greening Scotland’s infrastructure and public estates can offer huge benefits in stabilising energy bills, creating jobs, investing in the local economy and cleaning up the environment,” she added.

The challenge comes as Scottish Renewables has published its own plan for renewable energy in Scotland, which it hopes will feed into the updated strategy. Within its policy asks are a number of measures which would apply to public sector organisations, including;

  • A requirement for all local authorities to contribute a “reasonable share” of carbon targets
  • Implement appropriate policies to maximise deployment of renewable energy and low-carbon transport on the public sector estate
  • Revise public procurement rules to decarbonise energy purchases through methods such as PPAs and sleeving arrangements
  • Work with major private sector energy users and industries in Scotland to help them decarbonise
  • Ensure business rates are “accurate and fair” and do not penalise on-site generation technologies, building on the current campaign against proposed increases

“The Energy Strategy is a real opportunity for the Scottish Government and the whole public sector to build on success to date and retain Scotland’s place at the forefront of renewable energy development – creating jobs, keeping bills down and combating climate change,” Hogan added.
 

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