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  By a Newsnet reporter
New figures published today show Scotland's renewable electricity output is now operating at record levels and set to grow.
The figures, which were released this morning by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, show that renewables met a record-breaking 40.3 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Scotland in 2012 with the record set to be broken in 2013.

The latest statistics confirm that Scotland is on track to meet its interim target of 50% by 2015, which will mark significant progress towards the Scottish Government's 2020 target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity needs from renewable sources.

A delighted Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing said:

"These figures show that renewable electricity in Scotland is going from strength to strength, confirming that 2012 was a record year for generation in Scotland and that 2013 looks set to be even better.  We can already see from the first 9 months of 2013 that generation is 4 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2012.

"The Scottish Government's target is to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider, balanced, low carbon energy mix.  These figures show that renewable generation in Scotland was at a record high last year, meeting around 40 per cent of our electricity demand, and helping keep the lights on across these islands at a time when Ofgem are warning of the ever tightening gap between peak electricity demand and electricity supply.

"Our support for renewable generation, combined with energy efficiency measures, will help protect Scotland's consumers by keeping energy prices down in the long term."

The data also revealed that Scottish renewable electricity made up 36 per cent of the UK's renewable energy generation in 2012.  The figures confirm Scotland continues to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting over a quarter of generated output.

Also, quarterly data up to Q3 2013 shows that renewable generation in 2013 is on track to beat the record year set in 2012.

The report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, coincided with publication of an update to the Scottish Government Routemap for Renewable Energy for Scotland.

Mr Ewing added:

"Today, our publication clearly show the progress that has been made in the last year and the further steps that are being taken to help Scotland achieve the equivalent of 100 per cent from renewable sources by 2020. This is an ambitious target, but achievable as we are already on track to meet our 2015 interim target."

The Scottish Energy Minister's glee was tempered with the stance of the UK Government which has refused to implement in full, recommendations from its own research which called for more support for islands involved in the generation of renewable energy, particularly offshore renewables.

He added: "The UK Government continues to ignore the need for different levels of support across the three main island groups – a need that the UK's own research identified.  I have announced plans to convene a summit in early 2014 bringing all interested parties together to assess whether anything further can be done to help deliver a positive outcome for each island group.  Island renewables could provide up to 5% of total GB electricity demand by 2030 and support tens of thousands of jobs – an opportunity which we can't afford to put at risk.

"Despite a very modest increase, the UK continues to display a lack of ambition for offshore wind.  This could yet cast doubt over some of the projects planned for Scotland, and jeopardise our opportunity to secure thousands of jobs as well as manufacturing and supply chain investment. 

"In addition, potential investors in the offshore wind and marine renewables sectors have no market signals nor any commitment beyond 2020. The UK Government must take serious and considered steps to address these issues."


# bringiton 2013-12-19 11:45
Westminster is playing politics with renewables but will be forced to accept that electricity supplied by renewable sources will be cheaper in the long run than nuclear.
Renewables will also not burden future generations with the problem and costs of nuclear waste management.
I think marine sources (wave and especially tidal) will be a game changer because of the guarantee of supply they offer.
# Leswil 2013-12-19 15:03
I have taken a trip right up the outer Hebrides and been on some bridges that cross to smaller islands. The power of what is effectively the Atlantic Ocean surging between the main Island to the smaller one is simply huge, unbelievably powerful.
There areas need harnessed, for the communities, for their needs but also as a form of distributable wealth.

Which can be put back in to help these areas develop more, and encourage more population rather than de population.
# theycantbeserious 2013-12-19 15:55
Well done Scotland. Once again proving that with the correct policies and political will you can achieve greatness. Lets not forget this is being achieved without the help of a Westminster government. Quite the opposite!

If wave and tidal prove to be more productive than wind turbines, they could be unbolted and the nimbi's anti's would have no reason to condemn it as an energy resource.

Slowly and surely those that believe Scotland could not stand on her own two feet will come to realise that it is not only more than capable but with this present government has the foresight to do it wiser and better.
# gus1940 2013-12-19 16:42
Can we not at least have one tidal storage barrage to see how it works - preferably with a road across the top to share the cost - there are plenty places that could be done up the West Coast across the mouths of sea lochs.
In recent years several causways with roads on top have been built between islands - if only somebody had thought laterally and included turbines and used this method of tidal flow generation which is available NOW without first having to go through the current experimentation with submerged turbines which is OK for the medium and long term.
# Leswil 2013-12-20 20:27
GUS 1940

Gus I think that is a good idea, with two benfits -1,the power and 2, connectivity between areas.
One thing I am unsure of though, how do you stop fish, large and small and including seals etc Dolphins, smaller whales etc from being minced? I do not know the answer, but there would need to be a solution. Also in such a scenario the turbines would possibly be damaged.
# michaelkav 2013-12-22 20:35
How long until we get some hair brained analysis of this from NO: "the wind won't blow every day better stay in the UK and use the nuclear from China". Wait for it.

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