New figures have shown Scotland’s renewables industry is now the country’s principal source of electricity. The sector generated 49.7% of electricity in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available. The statistics have been hailed as “a clear sign of how important renewables have become to our energy sector” by industry body Scottish Renewables.
Senior Policy Manager Joss Blamire said: “These new figures confirm that in 2014 Scotland produced the equivalent of 49.7% of its electricity from renewable energy – the highest proportion ever, and up almost 12% on 2013.
“These latest UK Government figures are a clear sign of how important renewables have become to our energy sector.”
Scotland has a 2015 target of generating the equivalent of 50% of its energy from green sources, which acts as a marker for an overall 2020 target.
Mr Blamire warned: “While we are now almost half way to our 2020 goal of producing the equivalent of 100% of our electricity from renewables, the second half of the target is going to be much harder to achieve than the first.
“To see further progress, both the UK and Scottish Governments must now put renewables at the heart of their energy policy in terms of cutting carbon emissions, reducing bills for consumers and increasing our energy security.”
Welcoming the figures, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The historic agreement reached at the global climate change summit in Paris earlier this month sends a signal of certainty about the global economy’s low carbon future, in the same way as Scotland did through our world-leading climate legislation in 2009.
“Today’s figures show that Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do. It is fantastic news that renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and that nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables.
“Despite damaging policy changes from the UK Government, we will continue to harness – and bolster – Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure. At the end of Q3 2015, there was 7,504 MW of installed renewables electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 4.6% over the year.
“Devolved administrations, like the Scottish Government, will be strong drivers of a progressive climate agenda. Today’s figures show that a low carbon economy is not just a practical way forward, but that green energy plays a crucial role in the security of Scotland’s energy supply.
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “Given the urgent need to reduce global carbon emissions, we should all celebrate the news that half of Scotland’s power needs are now met by clean renewable sources. That renewables are now the largest single source of power, ahead of coal, gas and nuclear is a major achievement we should be proud of.
“Alongside energy efficiency, renewables are proving themselves the foundation of a truly low carbon economy – powering our homes and businesses, creating jobs and cutting emissions.
“While we look forward to the day when all of our electricity needs are met by renewables, achieving this ambition has become much more challenging as a result of decisions taken at Westminster.
“While Scotland has made tremendous progress on renewables there’s still much more to be done on reducing our demand for electricity. In the run up to next year’s Holyrood elections we call upon all the political parties to come forward with their plans for supporting consumers and businesses to reduce their demand, helping them to cut energy bills and carbon emissions in the process.”
The new statistics come in the quarterly Energy Trends report, released today by the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.