Renewable energy now Scotland's top power source


Renewable energy has displaced nuclear power as the chief power source in Scotland, according to new industry figures released by trade body Scottish Renewables.

In the first six months of the year, renewable power sources generated a record 10.4 TWh of power, which was one-third more than nuclear, coal or gas. This data has been compiled and confirmed by the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The chief executive of Scottish Renewables, Niall Stuart, has called the figures "an historic moment" for the renewable energy industry. The performance of clean power in 2014 is heartening for the Scottish government, too, which aims to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020

"The announcement shows the investment made in the sector is helping to deliver more power than ever before to our homes and businesses," said Stuart. "This important milestone is good news for anyone who cares about Scotland’s economy, our energy security and our efforts to tackle climate change."

Onshore wind and hydro power are the clear leaders in Scotland’s renewable energy mix, but there is significant growth potential in offshore wind, tidal and solar power, Stuart added, provided sufficient government support is forthcoming.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Business, energy and tourism minister, welcomed the findings, saying: "The fact that energy from renewables has exceeded that from nuclear in the first half of 2014 highlights the vast potential of renewable generation to provide a safe, secure and cost-effective means of electricity generation for this country, together with appropriate levels of thermal generation," he said. "It is vital that appropriate support for renewables in Scotland is maintained following the introduction of electricity market reform in the U.K."

Solar in Scotland, however, still has some way to go in order to really play a transformative role in the renewable revolution. Oft he 6.823 GW of renewable energy capacity installed in the country at the end of March, a mere 121 MW was solar PV.