By a Newsnet reporter
New figures published by the UK government show that Scotland had a record-breaking year for renewable energy in 2012 – with the amount of energy generated by renewables rising seven per cent on the previous year.
Scotland is now generating more than 14,600 Gigawatt hours from renewables such as wind and hydro.
Total renewable generation in Scotland is enough to power the equivalent of every home in the country. Assuming that electricity demand last year is similar to 2011, this means the equivalent of almost 39% of Scotland’s total electricity needs came from renewables in 2012.
The Scottish government has set an ambitious target of 100% of the country’s electricity needs being generated by renewables by 2020. Scotland is well on course to meet this figure, and exceeds annual targets for new production coming onstream.
The figures released on Thursday, from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, show that wind power generated 8296 GWh last year, up 19% on 2011. This is four times the amount of power generated by wind turbines in Scotland in 2006. Scotland now accounts for 35% of the total UK production of renewable energy.
Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, welcomed the figures and said:
“2012 was another record year for renewables in Scotland. Scotland also contributed more than a third of the entire UK’s renewables output, demonstrating just how important a role our renewable resource is playing in terms of helping the UK meet its binding EU renewable energy targets.
“We remain firmly on course to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020, with renewables generating more than enough electricity to supply every Scottish home.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee said:
“These fantastic figures show 2012 really was a record-breaking year for Scotland on renewable energy production.
“Scotland is maintaining its progress towards the Scottish Government’s targets of generating the equivalent of 50 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs by 2015 and 100 per cent by 2020.
“The statistics also show wind generation in 2012 was at a record high level and Scottish renewable generation made up more than a third of total UK renewable generation. That underpins just how important our role is in terms of helping Westminster meet its binding EU renewable energy targets.
“And this achievement comes before we begin to see the real benefits of marine and tidal power being developed off Scotland’s shores.
“Renewable energy is bringing thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into Scotland. It is boosting local economies across the country at a time when every penny of investment is more critical than ever.
“The rapid growth of the sector is an example of what Scotland can achieve when we put our minds to it – just imagine what we could do with the full powers of independence following a Yes vote next year.”