2016 was ‘landmark year’ for Scottish renewables, says WWF Scotland

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WWF Scotland and trade body Scottish Renewables have issued a joint call for Scottish ministers to set an ambitious target of 50% renewables penetration by 2030 following a ‘landmark year’ for clean energy in 2016.

Notable achievements across the Scottish renewables landscape last year include the commissioning of Scotland’s largest solar farm – a 13 MW ground-mounted array – in Tayside, the completion of the U.K.’s largest community rooftop solar project in Edinburgh, the world’s largest tidal turbine trial, and a record-setting day when wind power produced more electricity than was consumed across Scotland over 24 hours.

These achievements, noted WWF Scotland director Lang Banks, makes the nation a global trailblazer for pollution-free power, with Scotland now meeting three-fifths of its electricity needs from renewable sources.

“Following the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, we can and should go much further,” Banks said. “Analysis has shown that a 50% renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030 is not only needed, but that it is achievable. Ministers should now make this a Scottish government target and bring in the policies needed in its forthcoming energy strategy.”

The director of policy at Scottish Renewables Jenny Hogan added: “It’s been a truly remarkable year for renewables in Scotland, and our industry continues to help cut carbon emissions and support tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

“Many of these achievements are being driven by Scotland’s existing renewables and climate change targets, but with significant challenges facing the sector and a need to set out a clearer path, the time is now right to extend our horizons beyond 2020.”

Data from British power firm Drax found that the entire U.K. ran on 40% renewable energy on Christmas Day, an increase of 15% on 2015.