Scottish parties call for a "national plan" for renewable energy storage

Parties from Scotland want plan to ensure financial security and flexibility for renewables 

BOTH the SNP and Scottish Greens have urged the UK Government to develop a national renewable energy storage strategy for wind power and hydro power. 

The plan originally announced by SNP energy spokesman Callum McCaig was supported by Mark Ruskell of the Scottish Greens in addition to his party's own suggestions.

The SNP called for stability in the renewables market and a plan for incentives for green energy while the Scottish Green Party emphasised the actions the Scottish Government could make, such as a greater push toward community-owned energy projects. 

"Another way to improve the flexibility of our energy system is to decentralise production with more locally-owned renewables." Mark Ruskell

Callum McCaig, SNP MP and spokesperson for energy and climate at Westminster, said: "For the potential of renewable energy to be fully realised we will continue to need newer and better storage technologies; mastering that is the solution to making renewables as attractive financially as they are environmentally.

"The impressive levels of electricity generated from wind turbines last weekend are evidence that we should be investing in Scotland’s enviable potential for a clean and reliable source of energy for our future."

McCaig was referring to the news last weekend that for the first time on record, wind turbines generated more electricity than was used in the whole of Scotland on a single day at 106 per cent.

The Scottish Government in addition to this will set its goal for renewables to supply half the country’s energy by the year 2030.

McCaig has also urged the UK energy secretary, Greg Clarke to implement a "stable framework" to ensure stability for investment and guarantee support for projects like the proposed 400 mega watt Cruachan pump hydro energy storage scheme and the Coire Glas scheme.

He added: "It is time for the UK Government to develop a comprehensive national strategy for energy storage, including financial plans and what incentives can be put in place to encourage new technologies in the sector. Implementing such a plan with the electricity market should be a key focus going forward."

"The impressive levels of electricity generated from wind turbines last weekend are evidence that we should be investing in Scotland’s enviable potential for a clean and reliable source of energy for our future." Callum McCaig

Mark Ruskell MSP, energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: "Investing in energy storage, whether hydro, batteries or other technologies, is a no-brainer and it’s essential we make progress in the face of the Tories’ ideological attack on our renewables industry. 

"But while Westminster needs to provide stability, the Scottish Government has work to do too. We’ve had warm words from Scottish ministers about investing in energy-efficient housing but not the budget to match. This is crucial if we’re to reduce demand for heat and power.


 
"Another way to improve the flexibility of our energy system is to decentralise production with more locally-owned renewables. The Scottish Government has met its own target of community ownership but this represents just three per cent of renewables in Scotland. 

"By contrast, Germany has 65 per cent in local or community hands. We need a firm multi-year budget commitment from Scottish ministers for energy innovation funds to support the decentralisation of our energy system, rather than the current one-year commitment."

"By contrast, Germany has 65 per cent in local or community hands." Mark Ruskell

It was the data company Weather Energy Data which disclosed last Sunday that wind turbines provided 39,545 megawatt-hours of electricity to the National Grid and this statement was then endorsed by WWF Scotland, the environmental research and lobbying group.

The SNP states that energy storage facilities for renewables would allow the country to overcome what is termed as the ‘design flaw’ of wind power turbines, which is the argument that they are wasted when the wind doesn't blow. 

McCaig claimed that either if there is too little wind or too much wind the companies operating wind turbines are sometimes paid to shut down by the grid for over-producing or under-producing.

The storage of any energy from wind, solar or hydro would, he said, put an end to this energy waste and increase financial viability for the future.

Picture courtesy of Freeside

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