Energy Minister delighted as Scotland beats renewable energy target

March 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Mar 29 2012

FIGURES revealed today that an extra 45 per cent of renewable energy was generated in Scotland last year compared with 2010. 

The statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change statistics mean around 35% of Scotland’s electricity needs came from renewables in 2011, assuming that gross consumption in 2011 is similar to 2010.

This beats the Scottish Government’s target of 31% for last year.

Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing was delighted with the news.

He said: “It’s official: 2011 was a record breaker with enough green electricity being produced in Scotland to comfortably beat our interim target. ”And Scotland met almost 40% of the UK’s renewables output in 2011, demonstrating just how much the rest of the UK needs our energy.

“We are seeing great progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020.”

The figures show that renewable electricity generation, wind energy generation and hydro generation were all at a record high in 2011.

Mr Ewing added: “Scotland is a genuine world leader in green energy and our targets reflect the scale of our natural resources, the strength of our energy capabilities and the value we place on creating new, sustainable industries.”

Dr Sam Gardner, senior climate change policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: “It’s great news that Scotland has smashed its 2011 renewable electricity target but it should come as no surprise. We have repeatedly met our renewable goals for previous years and are well on track to hit the 100% 2020 target.”

He added: “However, while attention has been focused on renewable electricity, we need to step up efforts on energy efficiency. With over 50% of our climate change emissions coming from heating buildings, more also needs to be done to support greater renewable heat technologies.”

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewables is now a major part of our energy mix and a major part of our economy, and the sector is making a key contribution to the fight on climate change.

“Last year the sector displaced over five million tonnes of CO2, around 10% of Scotland’s total carbon emissions.”

He added: “There are many challenges ahead if we are to keep growing. Government must continue to focus on delivering grid connections, getting the right balance in the planning system and supporting investment in clean energy. By doing so we will make further progress in cutting emissions and securing more jobs for the future.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland also welcomed the figures.

Chief executive Stan Blackley said: “With the oil and gas industries giving us plenty of examples in recent weeks of how dirty, dangerous and environmentally damaging they are, it is clear that the transition to a low carbon economy supported by a renewables revolution is the preferred future for Scotland. And this news confirms that the revolution is under way and gaining momentum.”

Scottish Green party co-leader Patrick Harvie said the statistics show Scotland is already starting to exploit its renewable resource.

However, he warned that the benefits of the move to renewable energy should be enjoyed by all.

Commenting on Green proposals for councils to become involved with locally run public energy companies, he added: “Our proposals today on local energy companies would help ensure that communities are in the driving seat and would generate revenue for public services, not just profits for wealthy landowners and shareholders.”

Liberal Democrat Energy spokesman Liam McArthur said the figures, taken together with the Scottish Renewables report showing that over 11,000 jobs are directly related to the development of the renewables sector, confirm that Scotland is capitalising on the rewards that the renewable energy industry can bring.

He added: “Nevertheless, no one should be under any illusion that significant challenges still lie ahead and that each subsequent target becomes more difficult to achieve than the last.

“Today’s statistics, however, should give us confidence that we are on the right track.”

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