Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence


Projected Carbon dioxide emissions levels in Scotland to 2050

  The diagram above depicts the carbon dioxide emissions profiles for Scotland under three different scenarios. All the scenarios use the same conservative assumptions for demand growth in Scotland: Demand for electricity grows by 1.0 per cent to 2010, then 0.5 per cent to 2025; Exports mirror the current level (no increase); Existing nuclear and coal stations have a 35 year operating lifetime; Hydroelectricity contributes at historical levels; Any shortfalls that emerge are taken by extra gas generation.

  In the transitions scenario, coal and oil maintain their current capacity (which means its overall proportion will decrease in relative terms as demand grows). Renewable generation reaches the 10 per cent target by 2010, and grows to 20 per cent by 2020. In the dash for gas scenario, the share of coal and oil is gradually replaced by gas, and again renewables achieve significant market penetration. In the final scenario, like the dash for gas, renewables don't meet the 20 per cent target in 2010, but only reach 15 per cent.

  The 12.5 per cent reduction in emissions for the Kyoto commitment is for a package of GHG's, and the CO2 portion of this is likely to be less. The level shown here is what Scotland's Electricity Sector commitment would be on a pro rata basis with the UK. The 1990 level (15MtC) and 20 per cent reduction (12MtC) demonstrate the national target for CO2 emissions.

  For all of the scenarios it is apparent that there is a tension between where the market is going, and the environmental needs. Up until 2010 there are no real problems, but this is something of a "false dawn". Within the first commitment period for Kyoto (2008-12), it is not clear whether Scotland will meet its emissions reductions target, and around the period of the last two years of the commitment period emissions will rise well above the target of 13.7—to over 15 MtCO2 annually with the closure of one of the nuclear power stations.

  This cycle repeats in around 2023 with the proposed closure of the second nuclear power station. So the emissions reductions are not sustained post-Kyoto at a time when we may be looking at meeting further Kyoto targets.

  Both renewables and gas have a role to play in this future, and it is now that we should be addressing the key issues to develop renewable generation to meet the 10 per cent (UK) target as a milestone towards further growth. Scotland has proposed an 18 per cent target for renewable generation given the strong base of around 11 per cent supply from hydroelectricity schemes.

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Prepared 8 May 2001