Figures for the first six months of 2014, the most recent available data, show that renewables generated 30% more electricity than any other power source in Scotland. In reaching this historic milestone renewable energy overtook nuclear as Scotland’s main source of power.
In total renewable energy instillations generated a record 10.3TWh compared to 7.8TWh from nuclear generation, Scotland’s prior main source of electricity. Coal and gas electricity generation produced 5.6TWh and 1.4TWh respectively over the same six month period.
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The announcement that renewables have become Scotland’s main source of electricity is historic news for our country, and shows the investment made in the sector is helping to deliver more power than ever before to our homes and businesses.
“This important milestone is good news for anyone who cares about Scotland’s economy, our energy security and our efforts to tackle climate change.
“Every unit of power generated from renewables means less carbon emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, decreases our reliance on imported energy and supports jobs and investment in communities across Scotland.
“The renewables industry has come a long way in a short space of time, but there is still plenty of potential for further growth.
“Offshore wind and marine energy are still in the early stages of development but could make a big contribution to our future energy needs if they get the right support from government. That support includes the delivery of grid connections to the islands, home to the UK’s very best wind, wave and tidal sites.”
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said wind turbines alone produced enough energy to supply three million homes last month.
He added: “Renewables overtaking nuclear power to become the largest source of electricity is certainly historic, and represents a major step on the way to Scotland becoming a 100 per cent renewable nation.
“Last month, while nuclear reactors were forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland’s renewables were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country. Wind turbines in Scotland alone generated enough electricity to supply three millions homes in the UK – equivalent to 126 per cent of the electricity needs of every home north of the border.
“Put simply, renewables work and are helping to cut climate change emissions and create jobs in Scotland.”
Also commenting on the figures was Scotland’s Energy minister Fergus Ewing who said: “It is vital that appropriate support for renewables in Scotland is maintained following the introduction of electricity market reform in the UK.”
SNP MSP Adam Ingram added “This is a major milestone for Scotland as renewable energy has overtaken nuclear for the first time to become Scotland’s largest source of electricity.
“It underlines the incredible progress that has been made in recent years in developing Scotland’s renewables industry as we move closer to the ambitious targets the Scottish Government has set.
“Renewable energy brings jobs and investment to communities across Scotland and is a hugely important industry to Scotland’s economy.”
When the Scottish Government announced the target of 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2020 it is fair to say that more than few eyebrows were raised. The main question being asked was even with the resources available, could a country like Scotland provide the infrastructure required in order to meet a target like this?
The figures above show that we are well on our way to reaching this target and we can be proud with what we have achieved so far. However if we are to be successful more investment in infrastructure is a must. In previous blogs we have discussed the need for suitable links between the resource rich north of Scotland and the main commercial zones in the south. We are making progress however in order to achieve our goals more commitment must be shown by all involved.
We are proving that with the right mix of development, investment, and infrastructure we can move away from our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power however barriers still remain in reaching our ultimate goal. We therefore must remain focussed if we are to reach the target of 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. If we do achieve this not only will we be delivering what was promised but the benefits to both the environment and the economy will have a lasting effect on generations to come.