Scotland continues to go green as renewable energy production hits record high

By Gordon McColm

Scotland’s renewable energy production accounted for 90% of all electricity used last year, according to data released by the Scottish Government. It means Scotland is on course to meet its target to have all its electrical consumption come from renewable sources by the end of this year. The figures highlight a more than doubling of production since 2011.

Accounting for the majority of the growth has been an expansion into wind energy. Spending on building turbines, largely onshore developments, led to wind power proving enough electricity for almost every home in the country for a day in 2017. Onshore turbines account for more than two thirds of the renewable electricity generated.

An onshore wind farm in Ardrossan. Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

In total Renewable Energy Production was 30.5 Terawatt hours. That’s enough power for all of Scotland’s homes for 3 years. To help with this huge increase in production, that at times is far beyond the countries need, storage capacity for the energy has also been increasing year on year and some energy is also exported to other countries.

Data taken from ONS: Energy Trends UK Renewables

UK-wide figures show Scotland continues to lead the way for renewable energy. Production of renewable energy per head is now double any other country in the rest of the UK.

Graph showing the renewable energy production in Megawatt Hours per head of population
(1 Megawatt hour

Cara Dalziell, Policy Officer at Renewables Scotland, was less optimistic about the latest data released. In a press release she noted that there had been a slowdown in recent years that could hamper future growth for Renewable Energy in Scotland.

We now have a new target, that by 2030 half of all energy, across electricity, heat and transport, should come from renewable sources.

If we are to meet that, it is imperative that we act now to ramp up the decarbonisation of our heat supply, which makes up more than half of Scotland’s total energy use.”

Cara Dalziell, in a press release from Scottish Renewables found here

In South Ayrshire, Councillor Peter Convery said the local authority wanted to diversify their renewable power. He’s interested in generated energy from water sources instead and confirmed that plans to utilise the River Ayr are underway. Councillor Convery believes the plans are ‘very viable’ and a ‘no brainer’. He also said the Council have partnered with Ayrshire College as they continue to investigate the potential of developing an ‘Archimedes Screw’ power system.

The proposed hydro power generator shown in plans here. Image from South Ayrshire Council

Ayr isn’t the only town looking to do more with renewable energy. Last year Cumnock was announced as the site for a new Renewables Research Centre. The centre is funded as part of UK Government investment in Ayrshire and is planned to open in 2023.

Sources:

Population data used was taken from ONS estimates found here.

Renewable energy generation data from the UK taken from latest publication found here.

Scotland specific data taken from here.

ONS Data on UK renewables accessible here.

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