By David Leask Chief Reporter, The Herald

Centrica operates gas terminals near Barrow and has operations in Morecambe Bay

Centrica operates gas terminals near Barrow and has operations in Morecambe Bay

SCOTLAND has Europe’s worst record on renewable heat.

New statistics reveal the country – despite an excellent record on clean electricity – remains dangerously dependent on burning climate-change-causing gas to stay warm

Only six per cent of all heating in Scotland is sustainable, just a tenth of the proportion in Sweden, the best performing nation in the EU-28.

The low figure was revealed in official govt figures just after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon country declared a climate emergency.

Now they are turning their attention to how we power our cars, buses and trucks and how we heat our homes, businesses and public buildings.

Fabrice Leveque, of Scottish Renewables, is confident that the country can make the change – to meet Ms Sturgeons’s target of net zero carbon by 2045.

Mr Leveque, a heating expert, said: “The challenge is significant, but Scotland is well placed to take it on, with our abundant resources of renewable energy and the cleanest electricity in the UK.

“With the right leadership from government and public appetite for change we can make the change to cleaner heating in time, and realise new economic opportunities along the way.”

Scottish politicians – despite a recent slowdown in installing new renewable electric capacity – have routinely highlighted the dramatic switch north of the border to clean electricity.

The Annual Compendium of Scottish Energy Statistics backs up their boasts. Renewable electricity accounted for just over 70 per cent of gross consumption in 2017, the second highest figure in the EU, just behind Austria and just ahead of Sweden.

Moreover, Scottish figures between 2007 and 2017 improved faster than any other nation across the bloc, rising by 50 percentage points. Nuclear power was, in the year, still the biggest single source of electric energy, at 36 per cent. Wind came just behind, meaning more than half of the power generated (a different figure than the amount consumed thanks to exports) was renewable.

Scotland’s central heating systems are usually gas-fired and a race is on to provide simple solutions to enable householders to replace their current boilers – as and when they are due for an upgrade – with electric ones.

Glasgow has just announced that it is aiming to become Britain’s first zero-carbon city, with the backing of ScottishPower. Edinburgh has a similar ambition, but without the support of southern Scotland’s main power generator and distributor.

But their biggest problem will be increasing output to enable transition and meet new demand, from electric vehicles and boilers as they come on line.

Mr Anderson in early May, said: “We need to generate more power and that power has to be renewable. We need to double production and quadruple renewable production.

“The cost of that renewable power is coming down every month. We stand ready to invest.”

But there are problems. Mr Anderson said his main concern is the current lack of appetite from the UK Government for onshore wind, despite public support. Scotland will need more wind farms and bigger turbines to get anywhere close to staving off its share of the climate catastrophe.