Green Energy Day
Renewable energy capacity in Scotland has now surpassed the landmark three Gigawatts (GW), enough to power 1.5 million homes with clean, green energy.
Energy Minister Jim Mather celebrated this year's Green Energy Day by officially opening SSE's Dalswinton and Minsca wind farms in Dumfries and Galloway, two projects which provide another 66 Megawatts (MW) of green energy capacity.
Renewables capacity in Scotland has grown by a fifth in the last year alone and can now power 60 per cent of Scotland's homes. Installed capacity in Scotland now totals 3.009 GW:
- Wind - 1550 MW
- Hydro - 1380 MW
- Biomass electricity - 79 MW
- Wave - 0.5 MW
- adding in Energy from Waste (100 MW) brings the total to around 3.1 GW
Mr Mather said:
"In the last year, Scotland has experienced a renewables surge and our energy industry goes from strength to strength. New developments coming on stream include 150 MW of the Whitelee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor and Steven's Croft biomass plant near Lockerbie.
"And the opening of Dalswinton and Minsca wind farms takes us one step closer to creating a sustainable, low carbon economy. Passing three Gigawatts of installed capacity means we can now power 1.5 million homes from renewables, a fantastic achievement.
"There is much more to come. We are speeding up decision making and since May last year we have approved 14 renewable applications up and down the country, including the Clyde wind farm, the largest single consented wind farm in Europe. That certainty of quicker decision making has brought private investment of around £1 billion in Scottish green energy schemes recently - with more to follow.
"Scotland's competitive advantage in developing clean, green energy from wind, wave and tidal power is unrivalled and we want to meet tough European targets on renewable energy, which include heat and transport.
"We have witnessed an unprecedented level of activity in our green energy sector. It's clear that renewable energy is one of Scotland's most vibrant economic sectors, and even in periods of global economic downturn, it is making a significant contribution to our economy. Add to the mix our commitment to the largest Government innovation prize in the world - the £10 million Saltire Prize for advances in marine renewables - and it is clear our goal of making Scotland the green energy capital of Europe is coming ever closer."
Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables the green energy trade body said:
"It was only five years ago that the industry thought hitting 18 per cent of Scottish electricity demand by 2010 would be seriously challenging. We have exceeded that target several years early and the renewables industry in Scotland is focused on meeting the next big target of 50 per cent ahead of schedule.
"Despite the difficulties the industry still faces this is, by any standards, a remarkable contribution and we acknowledge the political support provided by this, and previous administrations, as the renewables industry continues to drive Scotland towards an efficient, low carbon economy."
Last year, the First Minister announced Green Energy Day, the day on which installed renewables capacity exceeded nuclear capacity for the first time. In September 2007, installed renewables capacity was 2.53 GW. In October 2008, installed renewables capacity stands at 3.1 GW.
The Scottish Government's Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 34 renewable project applications - 24 wind farms, nine hydro projects and one wave project, with more applications expected.
The Scottish Government has determined 20 energy applications, including approval for 14 renewable and one non-renewable project since May 2007 - more determinations than over the whole of the previous four years, in which 19 projects were determined.
Scottish Government targets are to meet 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, and an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011.
Total installed capacity of renewables in Scotland is 3 Gigawatts. Adding in all the potential energy from already consented renewable projects to those already operating brings the total to 5.5 GW, meaning the Scottish Government is set to surpass the 2011 target.