The Scottish Government has announced the creation of a new programme that will focus on making energy more efficient north of the border.
£9.1 million will be injected into Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP), with the funds going towards the improvement of energy efficiency across Scotland in homes, community groups and businesses.
This would be offered to successful applicants and a further £4.9 million would go towards other energy projects.
The project is expected to be fully functional by 2018. The move has been welcomed by campaigners, with Citizens Advice spokesman Craig Salter telling Holyrood Magazine that: “far too many households across Scotland cannot afford to heat their homes […], around 35 per cent of households are in fuel poverty.”
This comes following revelations, published in a report in January, that heating and cooling businesses and homes in Scotland costs £2.6 billion a year, which accounts for half of the greenhouse gas emissions produced.
However, the scheme has come under scrutiny for not going far enough. During a debate concerning the new funding, MSP Mark Ruskell referred to the scheme as a “drop in the ocean compared to what we could be doing”. The
Scottish Green politician called for more drastic action from the Scottish Government.
It has since been announced that Scotland has a record amount of its energy produced from renewable sources, which Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told Herald Scotland showed that Scotland was “punching above its weight”.
However Lang Banks, director of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland, warned in an interview with Herald Scotland that there is still a “long way to go if we are to secure all the benefits of a transition to a zero-carbon economy”.
Banks continued to say he was: “calling for Scottish ministers to [establish] a Warm Homes Act in Scotland to establish a regulatory framework that supports the growth of renewable and district heating.”
In February, the European Union (EU) criticised the UK government for failing to meet the renewable energy targets that they had set. Only three countries in the EU had worse renewable energy records than the UK.
However, Scotland was exempt from this criticism, with almost half of her energy coming from renewable sources at the time of the report. Holyrood aims for 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity to be renewably sourced by 2020.
Image: Vincent van Zeijst