SCOTLAND’S first comprehensive energy policy should set out a “bold vision” for the future to put the country on course to produce all our energy from renewable sources, without fracking or new nuclear power, according to a leading environmentalist.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES), was speaking as the Scottish Government prepared to publish its new energy strategy. The framework includes ambitious targets for renewables and reducing emissions.

“We are already doing very well on electricity but we must build on this and also transform energy use in transport and heating, getting away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels as soon as we can,” Dixon said.

“New nuclear power and fracking must have no place in Scotland’s energy future. Scotland is blessed with clean energy resources and we need to harness the huge energies in the wind, waves and sun to build a modern low-carbon economy the equal of any in the world.

“We also need to make sure that communities have a major share of the benefits that come from their renewable energy resources.

“The strategy should show how the Government plans to support workers employed in fossil fuels to transition fairly to jobs in the clean energy economy, if they so wish.”

Another environmental group, WWF Scotland, said several key areas should feature in the strategy, including a renewable target of 50 per cent by 2030, greater action to reduce the carbon impact of Scotland’s heating needs, and further measures to tackle the impact of our cold and leaky housing stock on emissions and fuel poverty.

Gina Hanrahan, the group’s senior climate and energy policy officer, said: “Research shows clearly that a target of generating 50 per cent of all of Scotland’s energy from renewables by 2030 is necessary and achievable.

“Ministers should adopt this target in the draft energy strategy, sending out a clear message to industry and putting us on course to secure the new jobs, warmer homes, and cleaner air that generating half of all our energy needs from renewables would bring.

“We’re already seeing the economic and social benefits of shifting our electricity system to clean, climate-friendly, renewables generation. Scotland’s 2020 renewable electricity target has helped create 21,000 low-carbon jobs, and a target of generating half of all of our energy from renewables by 2030 would help drive the same kind of progress in the heat and transport sectors.”

WWF Scotland also wants more measures to speed up the development of district heating networks, bringing cleaner, more affordable heat to homes and businesses.

The union GMB Scotland said the policy should be balanced to support “a just transition” towards a low-carbon economy However, it does see a place for Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse to include new nuclear and shale gas sources.

The union said the Hunterston B and Torness nuclear power stations contributed around 33 per cent of our electricity generation and with 78 per cent of our households requiring gas for heating, our domestic energy requirements could not be met by renewables alone.

GMB argued that the low-carbon transition must be a just process that supported working-class communities, industries and jobs.

Gary Smith, the union’s Scotland secretary, said: “Serious consideration should be given to a new nuclear station to replace Hunterston B – which has recently received its second lifespan extension – and Torness, which are scheduled for decommissioning in 2023 and 2030 respectively.

“And it’s a fact that a domestic fracking programme would provide a significant boost to our struggling economy and labour market while providing cheap and secure gas supplies to households for generations to come.

“The Scottish Government must take a pragmatic approach in the best interests of the country, something that has been sadly lacking among our political elite thus far which has been badly misinformed at times by the green agenda.”