Despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, GreenPower is gearing up to do its bit to meet the Climate Emergency declared by both the UK and Scottish Governments – in recognition of the greatest threat posed to people and nature across the globe – climate change.
When the economy does begin to pick up as the current lockdown restrictions are eased, one of Scotland’s leading homegrown independent renewable energy companies, GreenPower, agrees strongly with those advocating the need for that recovery to be a Green Recovery, and not simply reverting to business as usual with high levels of emissions and air pollution caused by dependence on fossil fuels.
With this in mind GreenPower has recently appointed new Development Managers and added a Book Keeper to the Finance Team. We are looking for further Development Managers and a Land and Estates Manager and plan to advertise other posts in due course so do make contact if you want to know more.
CEO and owner of GreenPower, Rob Forrest explains,
“While the Covid-19 virus is undoubtedly a major threat to individual and economic wellbeing we must not lose sight of the climate emergency that is very real and upon us. Covid-19 was and is a case of humanity being like a frog dropped in hot water, we have leapt out quickly, with some urgency. Although our collective response has been a challenge to say the least, it has been incredible to see people respond and work together.
Climate change is not like that. We are collectively like that frog, but in cold water slowly heating up. It doesn’t jump out of the problem until it is too late. But jumping out is exactly what we need to do now. We are close to boiling point and we need governments, communities and individuals to work together to face the common threat to all of us posed by climate change. We need to build our economy back better and greener.”
As Chairman of the trade body Scottish Renewables, Rob recognises that political and community support is essential to stimulate a Green Recovery, adding:
“We now need politicians to be bolder to put more urgent action alongside the new and welcome targets set for 2030, particularly to re-set the approach of Government agencies and local authorities to support our industry to achieve a wholesale shift to an economy based on renewable energy. We do hear a lot of positive words across the political spectrum, and there has been a lot of progress over the last 15 years that we can be proud of, but much, much more significant and positive changes in planning and regulations are necessary, particularly for onshore renewable energy development – or it will continue to be an uphill struggle – and time is certainly not on our side.”
GreenPower advocates a number of changes to the planning system to create better conditions for commercially viable, subsidy-free onshore renewables projects. These include:
- Landscape policy that is consistent with the overwhelming majority of the public and is in favour of onshore wind. Current approaches to landscape in the planning system start with the assumption that any visibility of a turbine anywhere in the environment is negative- this has to change.
- Change the ‘carbon calculator’. This is a tool that is used in development planning to calculate the ‘carbon payback’ of a development. i.e. how quickly any carbon releases from construction will be paid back by carbon savings of operating a renewable energy power station. This can vary from a few months to a couple of years depending on the site specifics and compared to non-renewable power stations it is invariably climate positive. It currently only uses the electricity grid as part of this calculation, but most of our emissions actually come from heat and transport – and it will be largely green electricity that will decarbonize them – so it needs to use the ‘whole energy grid’ instead, as part of the ‘payback’ calculation.
- There should be a strong presumption in planning against any proposals for new petrol and diesel stations; we need to support and approve zero carbon fuel suppliers now.
GreenPower’s response to the Scottish Government consultation on a new National Planning Framework for Scotland can be found here: https://greenpowerinternational.com/policy-response-greenpower-response-to-npf4/
Information about how carbon calculators work and how onshore renewable development in sensitive carbon rich soil areas can co-exist can be found here: https://www.scottishrenewables.com/publications/618-sr-npf4-supplementary-position-statement-peat-and-carbon-rich-soils