Big increase in Scottish renewables output
Scotland's renewable energy output increased by 45% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.
UK government figures showed Scotland generated 4,590 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy in the first three months of 2012.
This was an increase of 1,435 GWh on the first quarter of 2011.
Scotland is aiming to generate the equivalent of 100% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020.
The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change also issued revised statistics for 2011 which showed that renewable electricity generation in Scotland was 13,735 GWh in 2011, an increase of 44.3% from 2010 and up 97.3% from 2006.
The Scottish government said that, assuming gross consumption in 2011 was similar to 2010, about 35% of Scotland's electricity needs came from renewables in 2011, beating its interim target of 31%.'World leader'
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the figures showed the country was making good progress towards the 2020 target.
He added: "The increase of 45.5% in renewable output in quarter one 2012 compared to quarter one 2011 is particularly encouraging when you consider that 2011 saw the highest output from renewable energy to date.
"Scotland has astounding renewable energy potential, and the Scottish government is committed to ensuring every community in Scotland benefits from the opportunities of renewable energy.
End Quote Dan Barlow WWF Scotland
We need to see continued and rapid deployment of all forms of renewables”
"Scotland is a genuine world leader in green energy and our targets reflect the scale of our natural resources, the strength of our energy capabilities and the value we place on creating new, sustainable industries."
Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said the figures demonstrated that renewable energy was becoming an "ever important of our energy mix".
She added: "Each time you boil a kettle in your home, more and more of that electricity will have been generated from a renewable source such as a wind farm.
"Not only does the renewables industry now employ more than 11,000 people in Scotland, it's helping to reduce our carbon emissions, tackle climate change and insulate us from volatility in the gas market which has been responsible for the major hikes in energy bills over the last few years."
WWF Scotland's head of policy Dr Dan Barlow added: "To ensure Scotland remains on track to a fully renewable future we need to see continued and rapid deployment of all forms of renewables alongside investment in energy efficiency.
"Such a path will help create jobs, reduce pollution and protect households from volatile fossil fuel prices."
Labour Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex said: "Any increase in renewable generation is welcome. The investment needed to make Scotland's renewables potential a reality is supported by consumers across the whole of Britain, not just in Scotland."