Scotland has met and overcome its objective for green energy in 2015, as statistics published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change show 57.7% of Scottish electricity consumption came from renewables last year – 7.7% ahead of target.
The production of renewable energy is one of the core policies of Scotland – and this makes a lot of sense, when you consider their extraordinary potential. In addition to the already installed 1.3 Gigawatts (GW) of hydroelectricity, Scotland has an estimated potential of 36.5 GW of wind and 7.5GW of tidal power. Tidal energy particular is a rare opportunity which most countries don’t have. Unlike wind and wave, tidal power is an inherently predictable source – but the technology is still in its infancy.
Aside for the natural potential that Scotland has, the political drive to green electricity production was also there. While the leadership of many countries is focusing on cheap, polluting energy, Scotland seems willing to embrace renewables.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said:
“It’s fantastic news to learn that Scotland has continued to grow its use of renewables and now generates well over half of its annual electricity needs from clean energy sources.
“Ahead of May’s elections we need all political parties to continue to prioritise renewables and commit to ensuring Scotland secures the benefits of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.
“Independent research has shown that it is possible for Scotland to have a secure, efficient electricity system, based on almost entirely renewable electricity generation, by 2030. Embracing that vision would maximise the opportunities to create new jobs, empower communities and support local economic renewal throughout the country.”
Elsewhere in the UK however, things aren’t looking so good. England’s current leaders have not really encouraged renewables, crippling the growing industry. Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“This is great news and an important step in creating a fossil-free Scotland. Despite the UK Government’s ideological assault on renewable energy, Scotland is storming ahead, smashing through our 50% target for 2015. Well done to all those in this vital industry who have helped produce a big increase from the 2014 figures.”