Scotland should set a new “ambitious” target of generating half of its total electricity, heat and transport demand from renewables by 2030, according to campaigners.
It would require a threefold increase in current green energy generation, Scottish Renewables said as it launched a “manifesto” for political parties to adopt ahead of May’s Holyrood election.
The Renewed Ambitions: Defining the Future of Renewable Energy in Scotland paper calls on the Scottish Government to expand community and local ownership of renewable energy projects, ensure good practice in the public sector and expand provision for low-carbon vehicles.
Sweden currently sources half of its energy from renewables, the group said.
Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “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.
“Achieving this new target will require strategic leadership from the next Scottish Government.
“The development of a comprehensive and joined-up energy strategy will allow the sector to maintain its competitiveness as well as spearheading the development and deployment of new technologies.”
Mr Stuart added: “There are an increasing number of communities interested in building their own projects or taking a stake in commercial developments.
“We are keen to build on that and ensure the benefits of renewable energy are shared as widely as possible.
“One way we could achieve this is through the creation of a Scottish Renewable Energy Bond which would allow savers across Scotland to invest in the growth of the renewables industry while also generating a return on their investment.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “We should build on the great progress Scotland has made in harnessing its massive renewable resources to generate electricity, by doing the same in the key areas of heat and transport.
“Alongside steps to reduce our overall energy use, we agree that now is precisely the time for Scotland to be setting out bold new targets for all our renewable energy.
“The rapid progress Scotland has made on renewable electricity has mainly been down to a strong target, industry support, and strong leadership across successive Scottish Governments.
“As we approach the Holyrood elections, we call upon all the political parties to set out how they’ll grasp the economic and social benefits that will come from embracing the transition to a fully renewable future.”