Thursday, 31 December 2009

Almost a quarter of Scotland’s electricity need met by renewables
24 December 2009

Statistics published yesterday (December 23) showed that in 2008 Scotland generated the equivalent of 22% of its electricity needs from renewables, just 9% off its 2011 target. Energy Trends, a quarterly bulletin of UK energy statistics prepared by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), also revealed that there was a 9% increase in the amount of electricity from renewables (8.900 GWh) in 2008. The wind, wave and solar element of this increased by 26%, although this was mainly attributed to wind. The Scottish Government's target is to meet 31% of electricity demand from renewables by 2011 and 50% by 2020, so a 22% figure in 2008 suggests it is on target.

In all, renewables from Scotland accounted for 42% of UK renewable output. The amount of Renewable Obligation (Scotland) eligible electricity generated in Scotland in 2008 was 11% greater than in 2007, while the amount of Renewables Obligation (RO) eligible electricity generated in Wales in 2008 was 18% more than in 2007. In England, the increase was 8% and in Northern Ireland 52%. In the UK as a whole, RO eligible electricity production increased by 11%. UK wide, hydro sources of electricity rose by 39.3% on the third quarter of 2008, while wind rose by 38.9%.

The Scottish Government said that there was now 6.5GW of renewables capacity installed, consented or under construction around Scotland. It added that its Energy Consents and Deployment Unit was currently processing 36 applications (24 onshore wind, 11 hydro and one thermal), amounting to 2.7GW. In 2009, Whitelee, Europe's largest onshore windfarm, was officially switched on and the pioneering Orkney-based Oyster wave energy generator connected to the National Grid.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said that renewables was now a vibrant energy sector that made a significant contribution to sustainable economic growth. "Scotland's energy advantage is in developing the full range of renewable energy sources to create thousands of long term jobs, reduce emissions and meet our energy needs many times over," Mr Mather said.

He added: "The rapid development of renewables is a tangible example of our fight against climate change and we are working to become an international leader in turning alternative energy technologies into the main energy technologies of the future. "We are already on track to exceed our target of 31% of electricity demand from renewables by 2011. "While we witness continued progress in electricity, we are working to boost the use of renewables in heating through our Renewable Heat Action Plan and a new grant scheme for biomass heating."

Environmental body WWF Scotland said that Scotland was showing the way in terms of renewable energy. Lang Banks, head of communications at WWF Scotland said, "2009 has been another good year for renewable energy. With almost six Gigawatts of renewables capacity installed, consented or under construction, Scotland is on course to smash its interim target of meeting 31% of electricity demand from renewables by 2011.

"Green energy has a critical role to play in helping us achieve the 42% reduction in greenhouse gases set out in the world-leading Scottish Climate Change Act. "On and offshore wind, wave, tidal power, hydro, biomass and solar are all going to be important in Scotland's future mix of clean, green energy." Mr Lang added that WWF's own analysis has found that Scotland could meet all its electricity needs by 2030 without the requirement for either nuclear or fossil fuel powered installations.