Ahead of Tuesday’s (9 June) expected announcement that Scotland has missed its 4th annual climate change target in a row, Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow, is urging Scottish ministers to learn lessons from Germany.
Emulating Germany’s pursuit of community-owned renewable energy would help generate revenue to invest in the greener transport, sustainable land use and other priorities Scotland needs for a low carbon economy.
Scottish Green MSPs point out that even if the Scottish Government meets its targets on renewable energy, only three per cent will be community or locally owned in stark contrast with Germany which is already at 65 per cent.
Scottish ministers recently announced the award of £21m for community ownership of energy projects but that only “up to £500,000” would be available in 2015/16.
G7 leaders meet in Germany this weekend to discuss the need to invest in renewable energy technology to speed up the phase out of fossil fuels. Scotland has already seen significant growth in renewables, but with profits largely going to private companies and landowners, the opportunity to invest revenue in the wider climate change agenda is lost.
Patrick Harvie MSP, a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, said:
“Scotland clearly aspires to be a greener and fairer country, and with our natural advantage in renewable energy we should harness the profits from this growing sector to fund the transition to a jobs-rich low-carbon economy. Since the Scottish Parliament agreed to set challenging climate change targets there has been a failure of the current Scottish Government to pursue policies that will get our emissions down.
“An area the Scottish Greens have consistently pushed in parliament has been community and public ownership of energy assets. If Scottish ministers are serious about getting our climate ambitions back on track they would do well to emulate Germany’s Energiewende programme of switching to renewables and reducing demand through widespread local ownership.
“Giving communities and public bodies control over energy not only creates jobs and cuts energy bills but provides revenue to invest in greener transport, sustainable land use, cutting waste, and other priorities to finally turn good intentions into real action on climate change. The Scottish Government needs to be bolder on community energy and should seek to increase not cut its investment, otherwise we can only conclude it does not understand the urgent need for a transformational policy agenda.”