The government has today released its 2016 Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES), which outlines the full sources of British and Scottish energy in 2015
The statistics show that renewable power made up 24.6% of UK electricity in 2015, up 5.5% on 2014.
But the figures also show that nuclear power is keeping Scotland’s lights on as the country’s electricity imports rise and generating statistics diminish.
Analysis by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) has found that nuclear power and renewables combined generated 71.3% of Scotland’s electricity, but overall Scotland generated 3,000GW less in 2014 than in 2013.
This means 500GW less power is being exported to England than in the previous years, while more is being imported when there is less wind.
Nuclear power has remained a constant in Scotland and the latest DUKES statistics show across the UK its contribution rose from 19% in 2014 to 21% last year.
Coupled with renewables (24.6%) low-carbon technologies are now generating almost half the UK’s electricity.
Gas remains the largest form of electricity generation with 30%, but coal’s contribution to the grid continues to fall and is now at 22%. This is to be expected with the accelerating trend in closing coal-fired power stations after the UK Dept. of Energy announced that all coal-fired plants must cease operations by 2025.
Tom Greatrex – (left) the former Labour MP for Cambuslang and Rutherglen and shadow Energy spokesman who is now Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association – said: “Nuclear power has helped keep the lights on in Scotland for almost 60 years. These official figures highlight the important part it continues to play in our developing low carbon electricity supply.
“Combined, nuclear and renewables generate three quarters of Scotland’s electricity, close to an equal mix between nuclear and renewables (including hydro).
“Scotland’s more intermittent electricity supply means overall we are producing less and importing more electricity. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, power flows from south of the border to Scotland.
“To meet the objective of a secure low carbon generation mix, nuclear will have to continue to be part of the mix across the UK.”
The two Scottish nuclear power stations – at Torness in East Lothian and at Hunterston in North Ayrshire – are owned by EDF, the state-owned French nuclear colossus.