Renewable Capacity (Public Buildings)

First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 5th June 2008.

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Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour 12:00 pm, 5th June 2008

To ask the First Minister, on world environment day, whether the Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring that there is a renewable capacity in each public building. (S3F-853)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

As the member knows, our target of reducing CO 2 emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 means that we must transform the way in which we use, save and generate energy. The Government's ambition is to see renewable capacity in every Scottish community, and that includes our public buildings. This is a generational transformation, which is why, for example, we are tasking the Scottish futures trust with ensuring that new public buildings are also green public buildings.

Indeed, our leading by example programme will lift all aspects of environmental performance across the public sector. We are targeting practical and financial support for on-site renewables to where that will have the most effect. As the member knows, we have tripled the funding for community generation and microgeneration—£13.5 million is being made available each year, compared with the previous Administration's £4.5 million. We are extending the public sector fund for energy efficiency to allow it to be used to support renewables technologies as well as energy efficiency. We are also providing additional expertise specifically to support an increase in the installation of renewable energy technology in Scotland's schools.

Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour

I welcome the First Minister's commitment to move in the right direction on the issue and his acknowledgement of the importance of having renewables in every public building in order to reduce CO 2 emissions and of the Government leading by example. Will he, therefore, set specific carbon reduction targets and a completion date for those commitments? Given the fact that the Scottish National Party manifesto promised to kick-start the process with the installation of renewables technology in every school in Scotland, will he clarify what specific resources have been made available to deliver on that promise, either by the Government or by local authorities? Will he tell us when that promise will be delivered on? One of the first acts of the new SNP council in Edinburgh was to remove three renewables projects from the new schools programme that it inherited from Labour.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I am sure that Sarah Boyack will acknowledge that I listed the increased funding that is available for community generation and microgeneration. Just this week, in an historic joint launch with the Scottish Green Party, we launched a climate change fund of £18 million to enable communities throughout Scotland to tackle climate change issues and embrace renewables.

Sarah Boyack is right. We identified in our manifesto, on page 29, the opportunity to move towards renewable generation in Scottish schools. In addition to the various initiatives that I listed—she had the courtesy to acknowledge that she approves of those—there will be more announcements shortly on how we can realise the ambition of having renewable capacity in Scotland's schools.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

I am just as patient as the First Minister is generous in spirit. I seek his guidance on getting the answer to a question that I have asked eight times. It was first lodged on 10 January 2006, and Mr MacAskill answered it on 18 January 2006. Will the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body publish details of the Parliament's energy performance, as required by the European Union energy performance of buildings directive, which came into force on 4 January 2006? The directive requires a large, easily read poster to be put in a prominent place so that people can see how energy efficient we are—or are not.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

I cannot ask the First Minister to speak for the SPCB, but I am sure that he will want to.

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Presiding Officer, I would not presume to comment on your duties or those of the corporate body. As Margo MacDonald well knows, I give her guidance and help as often as I possibly can.

I saw some interest around the chamber when she mentioned 2006. Kenny MacAskill was not a minister then, but he answered the question for the corporate body.

Although I am happy and enthusiastic to give Margo MacDonald as much guidance as possible, it would be prudent for me to accept the Presiding Officer's guidance and leave the matter, interesting and important though it is, to the corporate body and the Presiding Officer.