Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scotland Leads UK Renewable Energy Generation

Scotland derived half of its electricity needs from renewables last year. Renewable energy, once dismissed as a pipe dream by some, is becoming a reality for many nations including Denmark and Germany. According to data released by the Scottish government in June, Scotland generated 49.8 percent of all of its electricity needs from renewable sources in 2014.

The Scottish government has met its target of meeting 50 percent of electricity demand with renewables one year ahead of schedule. Scotland is now setting its sights on the goal of meeting all of its electricity demand with renewables by 2020.

Scotland increased its renewable energy generating capacity by 5.4 percent over 2013. This growth continues into 2015 with first quarter results showing 4.3 percent growth compared to the first quarter of 2014.

Wind power, both onshore and offshore, is responsible for the majority of Scottish renewable energy producing a total of 4,452 GWh, which is enough to power one million homes in the UK for one whole year. In 2014 Scotland generated 19,000 GWh from renewables which is almost one third (30%) of all renewable energy produced in the UK.

Thanks in large part to Scotland, the UK is ahead of schedule to meet its 15 percent clean energy commitment by 2020. Led by wind energy, the UK generated 64,654 GWh of power from renewable sources in 2014. This is a 21 percent increase over 2013.

Wind energy is responsible for half of Scotland's renewable energy mix, hydro generates one third and far a smaller share ( 137.9 GWh) is generated by solar.

Although wind energy enjoys popular support in the UK, British Prime Minister David Cameron paradoxically won reelection on a policy that promises to end renewable energy subsidies. Since being reelected he has stated his intention to end subsidies for onshore wind next April. If he follows through this will have a cooling effect on the growth of renewables in Scotland and the UK as a whole. An end to subsidies could endanger almost $5 billion of onshore wind projects and over 5,000 jobs.

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