A RECORD amount of green electricity was generated in Scotland in the first half of this year.
Official statistics from the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show a 13.5 per cent increase in the amount of power produced from renewable sources north of the border compared to the first half of 2014.
The figures show a total of 4,832 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity was created in the second quarter of 2015, a 37.3 per cent increase in renewable electricity from the same period in 2014.
Wind and hydro output rose by 52.2 and 27 per cent respectively compared to same quarter last year.
By the end of the first half of this year there was 7,444 megawatts of installed renewable electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 5.5 per cent from 12 months earlier.
The country has already reached its 2020 target for reducing energy consumption seven years early - down by 13.3 per cent from 2005-2007 baseline levels.
But Scotland’s energy minister has warned that the huge progress towards decarbonising electricity generation is being put at risk by the recent UK decision to cut support for renewable generation earlier than previously planned.
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.”
Environmental campaigners have welcomed the new figures and the country’s progress towards ambitious targets aimed at combatting climate change.
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.”