Scotland on track for ‘record year’ of renewable generation

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Scotland is on track for a record year of renewable electricity generation, ministers have said.

Output in the first three quarters of 2017 was 19% greater than the same period in 2016, and 10% greater than the same period in 2015 – the previous record year.

Whitelee windfarm near Glasgow, one of the biggest in the UK. Picture: John Devlin

Whitelee windfarm near Glasgow, one of the biggest in the UK. Picture: John Devlin

Figures published today by the UK Government revealed that renewables delivered the equivalent of 54% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption in 2016, as well as 42.9% of total Scottish electricity generation in 2016.

Windfarms and other sites north of the Border generated approximately 24% of total UK renewable electricity in 2016 and continued to be a net exporter of electricity.

The news follows the publication of the Scottish Government’s first energy strategy on Wednesday.

A public consultation on creating a state-owned, not-for-profit energy company for Scotland will start late next year.

The strategy sets a target for half of the energy for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. It also targets a 30 per cent increase in the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy.

But Tory MSP Alexander Burnett said the publication of the strategy was “long overdue” and the final version “looked like a draft”.

READ MORE: SNP to seek views on state-owned Scottish energy company next year

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Today’s very encouraging statistics show that Scotland is on track for a record year of renewable electricity generation, and that our renewable energy sector is stronger than ever. This reflects our commitment to clean, green energy investment, and we will continue to support the renewable energy sector to grow further in Scotland.

“Yesterday, I set out Scotland’s energy future for the period to 2030 and beyond. The strategy recognises and builds on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. We are leading the way in promoting community and locally owned renewable energy – well ahead of the rest of the UK – and these figures are further proof of that.

“The future for renewable energy is bright in Scotland and these figures show that well over 50% of our electricity consumption was delivered by renewables and we now know capacity and generation figures for the first three quarters of 2017 are very strong. A low carbon economy is not just a practical way forward and renewable energy affects a very large share of our greenhouse gas emissions, but Scotland’s clean, green energy resources are now playing an increasingly crucial role in the security of Scotland’s energy supply.”

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