Campaigners have hailed the “strong ambition” of the Scottish Government’s draft energy plan but warned more work is needed to transform the energy efficiency of homes.
Environmental groups welcomed the target for half of Scotland’s energy needs to be met by renewables by 2030 after lobbying for the move.
Gina Hanrahan, climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said it “sends a strong message to business and industry, both here and globally, that Scotland plans to build on its amazing progress on renewable electricity in the heat and transport sectors”.
She added: “A transformation in how we heat our homes and offices, how we travel to work and school, and how we power our industries will generate many social and economic benefits.
“Research shows that generating half of our energy from renewables by 2030 is both necessary and achievable.
“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government to make sure that policies are in place to deliver on this target, which enjoys strong cross-party and public support.”
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This energy strategy is very welcome, with a strong ambition of transforming electricity, heating and transport.
“With 50% of all energy to come from renewables by 2030 and 100% of our electricity well before then, this plan sets us firmly on course to becoming one of the leading low-carbon nations in the world.
“We will need to do even more if we are to make our fair contribution to halting climate change.”
Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said the document was “a landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy”.
She said: “The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy.
“Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost.
“While ambitious, the target is achievable but absolutely depends on the right support from both the UK and Scottish governments.”
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said the government should set minimum energy-efficiency standards for all of Scotland’s homes.
Policy lead David Stewart said: “Not only is increasing home energy efficiency the most cost-effective way to lower carbon emissions, it reduces fuel poverty and creates jobs and training through insulating and retrofitting our existing homes.”
Lori McElroy, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, added: “The Scottish Government is right to set out a vision for Scotland’s housing stock to be warm, low carbon and affordable, but the timetable is still far too slow and the plan still short of detail.
“With the right support in place we could see all Scottish homes brought up to an acceptable standard by 2025.
“The Scottish Government have said this is a very high priority but the policy proposals we’ve seen so far don’t match that ambition.”