Renewables confirmed as Scotland’s main source of power

community renewablesScotland’s renewables industry is now the country’s single largest contributor to electricity generation, new figures have revealed.

The sector contributed a record 38 per cent of the total electricity output in Scotland – higher than both nuclear (33 per cent) and fossil fuels (28 per cent) for the first time.

Renewable sources delivered 49.7 per cent of gross electricity consumption in 2014 – up from 44.4 per cent in 2013. This means that the 2015 50 per cent renewable electricity target has almost been met one year ahead of schedule.

Renewable generation in 2014 was up 11.9 per cent on 2013 (which was a previous record year for renewables) and accounted for a record 38 per cent of total Scottish generation. Scotland generated 49,929 GWh of electricity in 2014 with renewable electricity generation delivering 18,962 GWh.

Scottish renewable generation made up approximately 29 per cent of the total UK renewable output in 2014. Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting 23.7 per cent of generation in 2014.

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 per cent 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. ”

The stats 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 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy – the highest proportion ever, and up almost 12 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, added: “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.”

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