Nearly 60% of Scottish electricity consumption from renewables

Renewables provided nearly 60 per cent of Scotland's electricity consumption last year, according to new official figures from the UK government.

Nearly 60 per cent of Scottish electricity consumption is met by renewable energy.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Nearly 60 per cent of Scottish electricity consumption is met by renewable energy. Picture: Ian Rutherford

This means the 2015 target for 50 per cent of electricity generation to come from renewable sources has been met and exceeded.

It also shows renewables have now become the biggest electricity generator, ahead of nuclear at nearly 35 per cent and fossil fuels at 22 per cent.

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The figures, from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, show energy from the likes of hydro, wind and solar has risen by 14 per cent in the past year.

The sector is now the single largest contributor to electricity generation north of the border, providing a record 42 per cent of total output.

Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting 29 per cent of all electricity generation in 2015.

Power generated here made up approximately 26 per cent of the total UK renewable output in 2015.

While gas dominated the generation mix in England and Northern Ireland, in Scotland renewables had the largest share at 42 per cent – double the proportion in the other UK nations. In Wales coal had the largest share at 33 per cent.

Scotland aims to deliver the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

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The latest figures were welcomed by Scottish leaders and industry bosses, but they hit out at Westminster’s stance on renewables.

Business and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Despite damaging policy changes from the UK government, which we continue to seek to have reviewed, we will continue to harness – and bolster – Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure.”

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at industry body Scottish Renewables, added: “Scotland is exporting a record proportion of its electricity generation to the rest of the UK – in large part thanks to the growth of renewables.

“However, future progress is hugely uncertain, with large-scale onshore wind, solar and hydro power all locked out of government schemes to support investment in new electricity generation capacity.”