Scotland’s renewable electricity output has reached record-high levels, according to official statistics released today.
The figures, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, show that renewables met a record-breaking 40.3 per cent of gross electricity consumption in 2012, confirming that Scotland is on track to meet its interim target of 50% by 2015.
This is important progress towards the Government’s 2020 target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs met from renewable electricity, as well as more from other sources.
Scottish renewable electricity made up 36 per cent of the UK’s renewable energy generation in 2012. Scotland continues to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting over 26 per cent of generation in 2012.
Also, quarterly data up to Q3 2013 shows that renewable generation in 2013 is on track to beat the record year set in 2012.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “These figures show that renewable electricity in Scotland is going from strength to strength, confirming that 2012 was a record year for generation in Scotland and that 2013 looks set to be even better. We can already see from the first 9 months of 2013 that generation is 4 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2012.
“The Scottish Government’s target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider, balanced, low carbon energy mix. These figures show that renewable generation in Scotland was at a record high last year, meeting around 40 per cent of our electricity demand, and helping keep the lights on across these islands at a time when Ofgem are warning of the ever tightening gap between peak electricity demand and electricity supply.
“Our support for renewable generation, combined with energy efficiency measures, will help protect Scotland’s consumers by keeping energy prices down in the long term.”
Commenting on the publication of an update to the Scottish Government Routemap for Renewable Energy for Scotland, Mr Ewing said: “Today, our publication clearly show the progress that has been made in the last year and the further steps that are being taken to help Scotland achieve the equivalent of 100 per cent from renewable sources by 2020. This is an ambitious target, but achievable as we are already on track to meet our 2015 interim target.”
Also commenting on the UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan, he said: “The UK Government continues to ignore the need for different levels of support across the three main island groups – a need that the UK’s own research identified. I have announced plans to convene a summit in early 2014 bringing all interested parties together to assess whether anything further can be done to help deliver a positive outcome for each island group. Island renewables could provide up to 5% of total GB electricity demand by 2030 and support tens of thousands of jobs – an opportunity which we can’t afford to put at risk.
“Despite a very modest increase, the UK continues to display a lack of ambition for offshore wind. This could yet cast doubt over some of the projects planned for Scotland, and jeopardise our opportunity to secure thousands of jobs as well as manufacturing and supply chain investment. In addition, potential investors in the offshore wind and marine renewables sectors have no market signals nor any commitment beyond 2020. The UK Government must take serious and considered steps to address these issues.”
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks added: "It’s great news that Scotland's renewable energy capacity and output both continue to grow, and this year looks like being another record breaker. Most importantly, Scotland is further along the track to meeting its 2020 target than we thought, which means ever greater amounts of climate change emissions are being avoided every day.
“However, in order to remain on target Scotland will need to deploy significant amounts of offshore wind in the near future. It’s therefore vital that the UK Government gives a stronger signal of its ambition on the growth of offshore wind in Scotland’s seas, as well as the necessary support needed to deliver that growth. We also need to see a quick resolution to outstanding issues over transmission charges and the harnessing of renewable energy from Scotland’s islands.
“While the rest of the UK has become distracted by gas fracking and new nuclear power, Scotland has quietly got on with the business of deploying renewables at scale. It’s clear from these figures that renewables are already ensuring the lights stay on, creating jobs, and cutting emissions.
“By combining Scotland's superb renewable energy resource with greater energy efficiency and investment in the grid Scotland, can continue to avoid the need for polluting forms of energy.”