RSPB Scotland has responded to the publication of the Scottish Government's Scottish Energy Strategy today. Senior Policy Officer, Rebecca Bell, said: "We welcome the ambition shown by the Scottish Government in its energy strategy, particularly the target for 50% of our energy demand to be met from renewable sources by 2030, which is something we and other NGOs have been calling for. This transition to a holistic, low-carbon energy system is what we need to meet our international climate commitments, but it needs to be done in a way that does not harm nature.
"The RSPB recognises that climate change is one of the most significant threats to nature globally, which is why we campaign on climate change and why we work to understand how best to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We strongly support the development of renewable energy, but renewable energy generating technologies need to be sited in the right place so that they don't harm our most special species and habitats. To make this happen, we need strong leadership from government to direct development to the best sites, invest in understanding environmental impacts, particularly in our seas, and to promote low carbon, nature-friendly innovation.
"There are particular challenges with offshore wind because of the international importance of Scotland's marine wildlife, but our research has suggested that there may be huge potential for floating wind turbines far offshore - if there is investment in research on the environmental impacts, and support to bring the technology to commercialisation. We hope to work with government and developers to ensure that Scotland takes the lead in this area without harming wildlife.
"We will respond to the consultation in due course, and we hope that the Minister and the Scottish Government will heed our call and take the bold steps that are needed to ensure that nature is at the heart of the delivery of this strategy."
The RSPB's 2050 Energy Vision is available here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/conservation-projects/details/350939-energy-futures-resource-constraints-and-sensitivity-mapping-for-renewable-energy-in-the-uk
The Scottish Government press release can be found here: http://news.gov.scot/news/the-future-of-energy-in-scotland