News item | 2015-01-12 | 10:18 AM

Renewables in Scotland outpower nuclear

In the first months of 2014 renewable energy in Scotland exceeded nuclear and became the top source of electricity.

In 2011 the Scottish government established a target for the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity demand to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020.

The government has also set an interim target of achieving 50 per cent of its electricity demand from renewable power by 2015.

The country seems to be well under way. During the first six months of 2014, renewables generated 32 per cent more electricity than any other single source. In numbers, renewables (mainly onshore wind and hydro) generated 10.3 TWh, nuclear (from power stations Hunterston B and Torness) 7.8 TWh, 5.6 TWh from coal and 1.4 TWh from gas fired power stations.

The same period saw wind output rise by 20 per cent, while hydro generation climbed by 50 per cent.

A fair chance

Guy Mortimer, Head of Onshore Development Scotland, BU Renewables, judges Scotland's chances of reaching its renewables target by 2020, as fair. "The current Scottish government is very pro-renewables and excellent progress has been made so far towards reaching the target."

According to statistics from industry group Scottish Renewables, the installed capacity of renewable electricity in Scotland was 7,083 MW in June 2014.

Onshore wind represents a massive majority of that capacity at 4,920 MW while hydro is the second largest source of renewable electricity at 1,507 MW.

Significant interests

Vattenfall currently operates Scottish onshore wind farm Edinbane (41.4 MW) on the Isle of Skye. The company is also completing construction of onshore wind farm Clashindarroch (36.9 MW) in Aberdeenshire.

Guy Mortimer states that Vattenfall sees further growth opportunities in Scotland. "The total potential installed capacity of all of our current onshore projects that are in operation, construction, planning and pre-planning stages, equates to about 0,5 GW so it is fair to say that our interests in onshore wind are significant."

Not only onshore

Although onshore wind and hydro power are indisputable leaders in Scotland's renewable energy mix, there is significant growth potential in offshore wind, tidal and solar power.

In October 2014, the Scottish Government gave the green light for 500 wind turbines spread across four offshore wind farms in the Forth and Tay region.

Read more

2020 Routemap for renewable energy in Scotland (PDF 697 kB)

Scottish Renewables: Growth in onshore wind in Scotland (new window)