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Scotland - leading the way in energy efficiency

Scottish flag

Scotland will be raising a glass to toast Andrew, its apostle and patron saint on 30 November, even though the Galilee fisherman’s Caledonian connections are tenuous to say the least. Legend has it his remains were buried in a chapel in his namesake Fife fishing town, and he was apparently crucified on an X-shaped cross; hence Scotland’s saltire flag.  Aside from that, very little else is known about him. 

Perhaps a greater reason to toast Scotland this St Andrew’s Day, is its admirable energy efficiency credentials.  

Leading the UK in energy efficicency

wind farm in Scotland

Scotland leads the way when it comes to green energy. The Committee on Climate Change – an independent, statutory body - recently stated that it regularly outperforms the rest of the UK when it comes to slashing carbon emissions.

Why is this? Well, there’s no doubt that power generation is a major factor. Three years ago, renewables became Scotland’s largest power source. And, only last month, Scottish Power became the first major UK energy company to generate all its electricity from wind.

But there are other reasons too. The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets. Targets like recycling 70% of all waste by 2025, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds over the next 14 years.

The sector has risen to these challenges. The establishment of organisations like Zero Waste Scotland, who carry out vital work in cutting industry and consumer waste, and Keep Scotland Beautiful, who campaign for environmental behaviour change and manage the successful Climate Challenge Fund, demonstrates the adaptability and a willingness of the sector to meet and beat these targets.

Energy Saving Trust's Scottish programmes

The Energy Saving Trust has played a big part too, through our involvement in various ground-breaking and hugely successful Scottish programmes.

  • We administer schemes that offer grants and interest-free loans to help with the cost of electric vehicles. We also provide training for community groups and businesses looking at improving their vehicle fleets.
  • We’re a key consortium partner in Local Energy Scotland, the organisation that supports local energy projects and administers funding of the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES). 
  • We’re at the forefront of Scotland’s home renewables revolution, creating the Green Homes Network, delivering impartial consumer advice on recommended installers and offering free home visits from specialist advisors.
  • We work directly with householders through the Home Energy Scotland advice service, the Scottish Government programme that’s helped thousands of people save money and keep warm at home (read more about Home Energy Scotland).
  • We also manage and administer a large range of grants and loans, aimed at ensuring individuals and organisations can easily find and choose the right kind of funding for their needs.

The Scottish Government have set another, longer term target too: to achieve a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. No one disagrees that this target is ambitious; but everyone involved in reducing the effects of climate change agrees it’s an essential one.

With continued support from the Scottish Government, we’re aiming to be at the forefront of the climate change reduction journey in Scotland until 2050, and long after.

We want to be part of a very real legend that’s not lost in the midst of time, or the source of debate for future generations. That’s the legend of Scotland meeting and exceeding emissions targets, and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Happy St Andrew’s Day!

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Ian Mountford works in Energy Saving Trust’s marketing team in Scotland. His role primarily focuses on partnership, communities and employee engagement work through the Scottish Government-funded Home Energy Scotland.