Investment by Scottish businesses, farmers, landowners and communities in their own independent renewable energy generation has now reached almost £500 million – with a 53% increase in projects developed in the past year
An estimated £80.9 million was spent developing 267 new wind, hydro, solar and anaerobic digestion projects in 2014 taking the total spend to just over £494 million, according to the Energy Entrepreneurs 2015 report.
There are now 775 commercial-scale projects over 50kW capacity now operating outside of the big power companies. They generate £271 million worth of electricity a year, enough to power more than 1.4 million households.
These figures show Scotland continues to punch well above its weight given its size, attracting almost a quarter of total spend in the independent sector to date across Great Britain.
Key Scottish facts and figures:
- Total Capacity: 2,116.9 MW (+20.8%)
- No. of Projects: 775 (+52.6%)
- Value of Wholesale Energy Generated: £271.4m (+18.9%)
- Households Powered: 1.45 million (+18.9%)
- Amount invested to date: £494.1m
- Amount invested in latest year: £80.8m (+19.6%)
- Average spend on each project: £302,846
- Onshore wind accounts for the bulk of projects (497) followed by hydro (173), landfill gas (43) and solar PV (32)
- The Highlands & Islands are home to the highest number of sites (143) followed by Aberdeenshire (135) and Perthshire (59)
Onshore wind continues to be by far the most popular choice of renewable technologies, accounting for 497 of the projects in Scotland. But a 43% increase in hydro projects saw project numbers rise to 173.
Although deployment of commercial-scale solar in Scotland has been relatively limited compared to the rest of the UK, the number of solar sites north of the border almost doubled during the year with 15 new projects taking the total number up to 32.
Anaerobic digestion projects, such as ones developed in the agricultural sector to turn waste vegetables into electricity, also saw strong growth with five new sites taking total numbers up to 12.
The average spend on each new project in Scotland fell to £302,000 from £394,000 due to a higher proportion of smaller schemes being developed during the year.
Developers accounted for 129 of the latest projects with farmers (65 projects) and landowners (26) also active investors. Four new community schemes took total numbers of larger scale community owned projects up to 38. A 10% rise took the number of onsite generation projects developed by businesses to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint rise to 44.
Across Great Britain, the report shows that the total invested in the sector has now risen to almost £2.1bn with over 4,460 commercial-scale sites of at least 50kW capacity now in operation.
The projects generate an estimated £1.08bn in wholesale energy a year, enough to power 5.7 million homes or meet all of the public sector’s power needs.
Since the first report in 2013, the amount invested in the sector has risen by 75%, project numbers have more than doubled and their share of total UK generation risen by more than 50% to stand at over 7%.