A record amount of Scotland’s electricity was generated from renewables in the first half of 2015, but Energy Minister Fergus Ewing warned that the huge progress towards decarbonising electricity generation is being put at risk by the recent plans from the UK to remove support from renewable generation earlier than previously planned.
Statistics, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, show a 13.5 per cent increase in renewable electricity generation compared to the first half of 2014. The Scottish Government’s energy consumption target, to reduce consumption by 12 per cent by 2020, is already at the required level in 2013 – down by 13.3 per cent from the 2005-2007 baseline.
The statistics also show:
– Scotland generated 4,832 GWh of renewable electricity in Q2 2015, a 37.3 per cent increase in renewable electricity from the same quarter in 2014
– Wind and hydro output increased by 52.2 and 27 per cent respectively compared to same quarter the year before
– At the end of Q2 2015, there was 7,444 MW of installed renewable electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 5.5 per cent from end of Q2 2014
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland continues to make good progress on renewable electricity generation and annually we are now producing double the amount we did in 2006.
“Scotland has made great progress in increasing the amount of clean, green electricity in our energy mix. However we are very concerned that the damaging and premature cuts to support for renewable energy being driven through by the UK Government will hamper future progress.
“If they are going to pursue this policy there should be a sufficiently flexible grace period covering projects already in the planning system. This flexibility would ensure companies and communities are not penalised unfairly by the UK Government policy change where they have already invested.”
Commenting on news today that record amount of Scotland’s electricity was generated from renewables in the first half of 2015, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It’s great to see this jump in renewable output and that Scotland continues to make progress toward a clean energy future. Scotland’s renewables industry now supports some 20,000 jobs and helps us avoid over a million tonnes of carbon emissions every month.
“While we need to see a change in attitudes towards onshore wind and solar at Westminster, there’s still much that can be done here in Scotland. As we head towards next year’s elections we look to all parties to continue this energy transition by committing to produce an electricity demand reduction strategy and support the continued deployment of renewables. With the right policies in place, Scotland could become the first EU country to have an almost entirely renewable generation system by 2030.
“Scotland continues to make strong progress in the renewable electricity sector, but there remains much more to be done on renewable heat where currently only 3% of our heating demand comes from renewables. We hope that all parties commit to introducing a Warm Homes Act that helps bring clean and affordable warmth to thousands of households and businesses in Scotland, by supporting the growth of district heating and renewable heat.”