Scotland business

Power from renewables in Scotland 'up by 30%'

Wind turbines Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Wind farms in Scotland saw a 20% rise in output last year

Almost half of the power generated in Scotland now comes from renewable sources, according to official figures.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said renewables achieved 46.4% of gross electricity consumption in 2013 - up from 39.9% in 2012.

It also found the amount of power generated from renewable sources in Scotland in the first half of this year was 30% up on a year ago.

The period saw wind output rise by 20%, while hydro generation climbed by 50%.

Renewable heat generation accounted for 3% of Scotland's non-electrical heat demand - up from 2.7% in 2011.

The figures were welcomed by environmental group WWF Scotland.

However, industry group Scottish Renewables warned that Scotland's 2020 renewable heat target remained "worryingly out of reach", despite progress in the sector.

Energy efficiency

The Scottish government said Scotland was on track to meet its interim target of achieving 50% of its electricity demand from green power by 2015.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing claimed renewable generation continued "to go from strength to strength" in Scotland.

He said: "Scottish renewable electricity made up 32% of the UK's renewable energy generation in 2013 and we continue to be a net exporter of electricity.

"Energy efficiency sits at the top of our energy hierarchy and the progress being made is welcome."

Mr Ewing added: "We are committed to making Scotland a leading low carbon investment destination, delivering growth from the growing low carbon sector and ensuring communities across Scotland can benefit from the opportunities that the transition to a low carbon economy brings."

'Record year'

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Coming off the back of recent calls by the UN for more action on climate change, it's fantastic to hear that Scotland is continuing to generate record amounts of clean, renewable electricity.

"Even more encouraging is the fact that this looks like being yet another record year for renewables in Scotland.

"This is good news for all those concerned with cutting carbon emissions, creating jobs and keeping the lights on.

"However, if we're to meet our aim of generating 100% of our electricity needs from renewables by 2020 then we'll need to see continued government support in both Holyrood and Westminster.

"This is especially the case for offshore wind power, where we need to see a major roll-out of sites in Scottish waters in the next few years."

'Left behind'

Scottish Renewables said the figures showed that 3% of the country's warmth came from biomass, solar thermal panels, energy from waste and heat pumps in 2012.

But it claimed that, with a target of 11% by 2020, the sector had been "left behind".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Solar PV panels contributed to a small rise in renewable heat figures

Scottish Renewables policy manager Stephanie Clark said: "While Scotland has made great strides towards its 100% 2020 renewable electricity target, our objective of generating 11% of heat from renewables remains worryingly out of reach.

"Renewable heat has been left behind.

"Half the energy we use goes on creating warmth, but a sector which has such an important role to play in combating climate change and reducing fuel poverty is not even considered important enough to be included as one of the Scottish government's national indicators of progress.

"Currently we just do not see the capacity coming forward which will allow us to hit the 2020 target and capitalise on the reductions in fuel poverty and carbon emissions which achieving it would bring."

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