Due to Scotland’s recent difficulties with fuel poverty, they have come up with an incredible solution to their struggles: to have their country run on as much renewable energy as possible, and to expand their renewable energy programs in the upcoming years in order to reduce the possibility of fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty affects those in low income households the most, and it is an issue that lasts throughout the entirety of the year, and not just in the colder seasons. At this point, about 900,000 homes are in fuel poverty, which is more than 1/3rd of the entire population. They cannot afford adequate warmth in their home, or they need to spend 10% or more out of their income to pay for fuel bills. Clearly, this is a major issue that begs to be addressed by Scotland. Thankfully, the Scottish government has come up with a fairly ingenious solution.
The Scottish government has created a £3 million, or $4.65 million, fund in order to give multiple families living in fuel poverty the opportunity to have their own “green energy supply,” or renewable energy supply. This money would provide families with loans in order to install renewable heat and electricity systems in the homes of people fighting fuel poverty, and the loans would be interest-free.
Each family can borrow £10,000, or about $15,500, to install solar panels, or micro wind turbines, or biomass boilers; all of which are renewable energy, either through sun, wind, or “biomass” (waste). This will both help the environment and reduce costs to the individual families. Hopefully with this new initiative, Scotland can reach its goal of eliminating (or nearly eliminating) fuel poverty by 2016. Besides that, it will help the Scottish government with their goal to switch to 100% renewable energy.
As of now, Scotland receives about 33% renewable electricity, which means 1/3rd of their country is run completely on renewable energy. They have a target of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2020, which is certainly an ambitious and difficult goal, but is far from impossible.
Scotland plans to use their resources, like wind and tidal sources, to reach their full potential in renewable energies. Plus, they have sunshine, geothermal, biomass, and just about every other renewable energy option that they can tap into in order to reduce their use of other energy sources, which would, in the long-run, be cheaper for Scotland, as well as better for the world as a whole, since it would be helping the environment thrive, rather than actively harming the environment.
Other initiatives of Scotland to become completely reliant on renewable energy include wind farms and underwater tidal turbines. The Scottish government recently approved a wind farm project on Shetland Islands, which would add “370 MW” to Scotland’s capacity for renewable energy. Roughly translated, this would create enough energy to be able to power 175,000 homes, which is also 16 times as much as the population of the Shetland Islands.
The Underwater Tidal Turbine Project of Scotland would be placed between two islands, and would create “10 MW,” which would power 2 times the number of homes on the nearby island of Islay. Both projects are just some of the initiatives that Scotland is committing to in order to switch to renewable energy.
The Energy Minister Fergus Ewing commented that the Scottish government wants to reduce energy bills of its citizens. Plus, this new renewable energy initiative will create jobs, as well as “boost the micro-generation market,” which can allow low income households to boost their incomes through the renewable technologies.
This may not completely eradicate fuel poverty, and it may not completely switch Scotland to renewable energy, but it is certainly an incredibly start. Overall, Scotland is on its way to not only becoming completely green and environmentally friendly, but reducing poverty through the same initiatives.