Glasgow aims to be UK’s first ‘net zero’ city

Andy Farrington / Colours of Glasgow at Night / CC BY-SA 2.0

Glasgow City Council is aiming to be the first UK city to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

The Scottish government has already set a 2045 net zero target, and Glasgow will work with Scottish Power to develop and deliver decarbonisation of power, transport and heat.

Electric vehicles form a key part of the council’s plans. Scottish Power said it was too early to detail its roadmap for a mass rollout of charging infrastructure, but it would encompass the commercial and industrial sectors as well as residential and public charging points.

The Spanish-owned utility, which has divested its fossil fuel assets to coal and biomass firm Drax, said electrification of transport would require ongoing investment in the power grid.

Chief executive Keith Anderson also urged policymakers to rethink the current stance on onshore wind. He has previously called for it to be “underpinned by a market mechanism” and allowed to bid for contracts for difference (CfDs).

“The maths for going net zero is simple,” he said. “Renewable energy capacity has to quadruple and electricity generation has to double. We can’t do this if we keep inventing ways to block new renewable capacity. Onshore wind in particular has suffered as a consequence and the time has come for a fundamental rethink.

“We’ve been able to compensate to some extent by racing ahead with large offshore wind projects, but quadrupling capacity can’t rely on putting all our eggs in one renewable basket. We’ve said very clearly we will aim to invest £6 billion in renewable capacity by 2022. The easier it is to do this, the quicker we all get to net zero.”

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said decarbonisation “is the issue of our times”.

She added: “We simply have to act now and the Glasgow City Government will develop those partnerships necessary to get to where we simply have to be.”

Related stories:

Drax spends £700m on Scottish Power generation assets

Drax and Iberdrola agree capacity market risk share to get deal done

Scottish Power chief: You’re bonkers if you think we can build offshore wind without subsidy

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