Scots fourth in European green energy usage league
New figures have prompted fresh calls for control over energy to be devolved to Holyrood and a cut to ring-fenced renewable subsidies.
Scotland was the fourth largest consumer of green energy in the EU in 2016, with 54 per cent of its electricity provided by renewables, according to statistics compiled by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). This is more than twice as much as the average for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
More than two thirds of Scotland’s electricity came from renewables in 2017 – a 15 per cent rise in one year and a threefold increase since 2007.
Nationalist MSP Alasdair Allan said: “With over half of our energy supplied by renewable sources, Scotland is, alongside Austria, Sweden and Portugal, crowding out fossil fuels faster than most other EU nations. We are setting an example to the rest of the UK as one of Europe’s top consumers and producers of renewable energy.
“The Tories need to take a more strategic view of our environment and stop cutting subsidies for renewables, which experts have confirmed will be more cost-effective than nuclear power in the near future.”
Scotland’s green record beats other EU nations like Germany, which has seen a rapid expansion of renewables with its groundbreaking Energy Act of 2000 and plans to phase out nuclear power stations by 2022. Denmark is also behind Scotland despite being a recognised world leader in decarbonisation in recent decades, developing new offshore wind farms.
The UK government’s green energy priorities came under fire two years ago when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was axed and policies came under the business agenda.
Gina Hanrahan, of WWF Scotland, said: “If the sector is to continue to grow, the UK government must urgently provide a route to market for mature technologies like onshore wind and solar and support for newer technologies like tidal power.”
A Government spokesperson said: “The UK is world leading in tackling climate change, with carbon emissions 40 per cent lower since 1990 and over the last five years investment in renewables has more than doubled to an average of £9 billion each year.”