Scotland business

Renewable electricity 'close to 50% target'

Electricity pylon and wind turbines Image copyright Reuters

Nearly half of Scotland's energy consumption came from renewable sources last year, according to official data.

Figures released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed 49.6% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources last year.

The figure was up from a total of 44.4% in 2013.

The Scottish government said Scotland had almost met its 50% renewable electricity target, a year ahead of schedule.

Renewable electricity generation rose last year by 11.7% and is now estimated at 18,959 gigawatt-hours (GWh).

This is roughly enough electricity to power the equivalent of an additional 430,000 Scottish households for a year, compared with 2013.

The total included an increase in hydro, bioenergy and wind generation, with hydro generation at a record high level - up 26% from 2013 to 5,503 GWh.

There was another record year for wind output, which was up 4% from 2013 to 11,592 GWh.

'Multiple benefits'

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said renewable electricity generation continued to go "from strength to strength" in Scotland.

He added: "Harnessing Scotland's vast energy wealth has multiple benefits - reducing our carbon emissions, creating jobs and investment, and helping keep the lights on across these islands.

"2014 was also another record-breaking year for wind output, up 4%, and the Scottish government remains committed to continuing this upward trend."

A DECC spokesman said: "Scotland's renewables sector is a genuine success story which is fantastic to see.

"As a United Kingdom, we're building on this together through reforms that are driving up to £100bn of capital investment, including more onshore and offshore wind projects across Scotland."

Dr Sam Gardner, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: "It's great to see Scotland's renewable electricity sector has almost met its 50% target a year ahead of schedule.

"Green electricity is reaping rewards for Scotland, slashing carbon emissions, increasing energy security and delivering jobs and investment.

He added: "However, to ensure the continued growth of this industry, attract supply chain investment and continue to bring down costs, the next UK government must provide a stable and sustained funding pipeline for offshore wind and clear volume signals in the 2020s."

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