Scotland business

Green energy 'achieves record year'

Wind turbines Image copyright PA
Image caption Wind power accounted for more than 11,200 GWh of electricity last year

Scotland generated a record amount of electricity from green energy sources last year, according to new figures.

Renewable power projects produced a total of just over 17,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in 2013, a rise of 16.4% on the previous year.

That means about 46.5% of Scotland's energy needs came from sources such as wind or hydro power.

The data was released by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Wind power produced a total of 11,216 GWh of electricity last year - the highest amount ever.

The amount of energy from this source was 35.7% higher than in 2012, and more than five times the amount of wind power that was produced in 2006.

'Record year'

The Scottish government said the figures showed it was on track to meet its target of producing 50% of the country's electricity needs from renewables by 2015, ahead of the target of producing the equivalent of 100% of needs from green sources by 2020.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "These figures show that renewable electricity in Scotland is going from strength to strength, showing that 2013 was a record year for renewable generation in Scotland and that 2014 looks set to be even better."

Environmental campaigners and industry leaders also welcomed the figures.

'Fantastic news'

Dr Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: "It's fantastic news to see Scotland's renewable electricity sector making consistent progress year on year towards its 2020 target.

"Indeed we are already within touching distance of the 2015 goal to generate 50% of electricity needs from renewables."

He added: "We must maintain this momentum if we are to realise the full potential of our natural resources and tackle climate change.

Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at the industry body Scottish Renewables, said it was important to remain focused on the renewables targets "if the sector is to continue to provide increasing economic, environmental and social benefits to Scotland".

This week Perth-based energy giant SSE announced it was scaling back its renewable energy commitments as part of a "streamlining" process to pay for an electricity price freeze.

Hundreds of jobs are being cut and four offshore wind developments have been shelved, saving the company up to £100m in operational costs.

However, SSE said it had decided to continue to invest in the Beatrice offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth, at least for the rest of this calendar year.

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