Renewable-energy electricity generation reaches new records in Scotland and rUK

Renewable electricity generation in Scotland increased by over a quarter last year, according to official data.

Statistics published by the UK Government show an increase of 26% in 2017 compared with the previous year.

The majority of the rise was attributed to greater onshore wind capacity.

The increase meant that, at the end of the final quarter of the year, a record 10GW of installed renewables electricity capacity was operational in Scotland, a 13% increase over the year from the final three months of 2016.

It is estimated the equivalent of 68.1% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland came from renewable sources, up 14.1 percentage points from 54% in 2016.

A record high of 4.8TWh of electricity was transferred from Scotland to England in the final quarter of 2017, almost double that recorded in the same period a year earlier.

Net electricity transfers from Scotland to England were up 31% in 2017 compared to 2016.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Renewable energy will play a hugely significant role in powering Scotland’s future and through the strategy we want to ensure the correct strategic decisions are taken to support this much valued sector of Scotland’s economy as it goes from strength to strength.”

Alexander Burnett MSP, the Conservative energy spokesman in Holyrood, commented: “It is welcome to see that renewable electricity generation has increased. Scotland is playing a large part in the story.

“If we are to transition from petrol and diesel cars, as well as decarbonising our heat network, it is paramount that we embrace the possibilities of offshore wind and hydro. 

“However, the SNP Government should look at a range of options for delivering increased energy generation, rather than putting all the eggs in the one basket of onshore wind.

“And while hydro generation is up nine percent, which is encouraging – but it could be better. We haven’t seen the relief on renewable generators reinstated since 2015, and this is having a negative impact.”

Meanwhile, new government statistics also show that wind generated 15% of the UK’s entire electricity demand in 2017 – the highest annual amount ever – up from 11% in 2016. 

Electricity from renewables overall was 29.4% – up from 25% – in 2017.

A Renewable UK spokesman said: “These official figures confirm that 2017 has been another record-breaking year for wind energy.

“The cost of new offshore wind halved in 2017 and onshore wind is already the cheapest of any new power source in the UK – so it’s vital that new onshore wind should be allowed to compete in the market for sake the consumers.”

3 Apr 2018

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