Scottish renewable energy production falls back

wind farm
Image caption Scotland's figures for renewable production were still significantly higher than across the UK

Scotland's progress towards meeting its renewable energy targets slipped last year, figures have shown.

Production in 2010 fell back to 24.1% of gross electricity consumption, down from 27.3% in 2009.

The Scottish government target for green energy is to reach 31% of gross consumption by 2011, and 100% by 2020.

The figures come in Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics. The 2010 fall was attributed to lower rainfall meaning less hydro production.

The overall measure, which shows the total percentage of electricity generation accounted for by all renewables, also dipped in 2010, from 20.9%, to 19.1%.

England's figure for overall production was 4.7%, Northern Ireland generated 10.3% of electricity from renewables and Wales 5.1%.

The DECC report said: "With its high proportion of natural flow hydro, as well as wind generation increasing by over a third due to increased capacity, renewables' share in Scotland under the headline measure increased by almost three percentage points to stand at 20.9% in 2009.

"Scotland's renewables' share fell to 19.1% in 2010 mainly due to a fall in hydro generation as a result of much lower rainfall. This share is very much higher than other parts of the UK."

However, the Scottish government said provisional figures for 2011 indicated it could be a "record year" for renewable generation in Scotland.

The government said the first three quarters of the year had seen green power production reach 94% of the 2010 total.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables and more from other sources by 2020, with enough renewable energy capacity installed to more than meet our interim target of 31%.

"In the first three quarters of the year alone, renewables have already delivered 94% of the previous year's totals, and 83% of the previous record year."

Jenny Hogan, from industry body Scottish Renewables, said: "We expect the final figures for the remaining quarter of this year to prove 2011 has been a record breaking year for Scotland's renewables industry.

"Not only are we securing jobs and investment for Scotland but this industry is punching well above its weight compared to the rest of the UK."

DR Dan Barlow, from environmental group WWF Scotland, said: "We need to step up efforts to make our buildings much more energy efficient and support the roll out of renewable solutions to meet our building and water heating needs."

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