Donald Trump might not like Scottish wind farms, but they sure are producing a lot of electricity these days. In fact, Cleantechnica reports that wind turbines generated enough electricity to meet the needs of 97% of Scottish households last year, up 16% from the year before. Meanwhile solar also soared, providing 50% or more of the household electricity or hot water needs during a total of seven months of the year.
That's pretty impressive stuff. And it may bode well for Scotland to reach its goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2020.
Now Scottish Renewables, a clean energy industry group, is calling for Scotland to scale up its ambitions—gunning for a total of 50% renewable energy across electricity, heating and transportation needs. Niall Stuart, the organization's Chief Executive, argued that this is not all that far fetched:“Scotland’s ambitious climate change and 2020 renewable energy targets have signalled a clear intent for the country to lead the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy. "Together, renewables now produce the equivalent of 15% of Scotland’s energy use across electricity, heat and transport. But with only four years to go, it is now time to look beyond 2020 and for Scotland to set a stretching target for renewables to produce the equivalent of at least 50% of all energy use across electricity, heat, and transport by 2030. That may seem ambitious but we will be more than halfway there by the end of this decade, and Sweden - the European leader - already sources half of all energy from renewables today."
I argued before that the Paris climate deal may come to be seen as a turning point. Once it's clear that we will eventually transition to a 100% renewable energy economy, it seems inevitable that we will reach tipping points after which the question no longer is how fast we can afford to switch, but rather how much will it cost to get left behind.
The latest figures coming out of Scotland suggest that those tipping points may not be too far off.