'Momentous' 2011 for Scottish renewables
The Scottish Government has hailed 2011 as both 'ground breaking' and 'momentous' for the nation's renewable energy industry.
The year to October saw what Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing, also hailed as a 'record breaking' £750m of investment in renewable energy in Scotland.
Mr Ewing also pointed out there is a pipeline of proposed projects with 17GW of generating capacity worth an estimated £46bn.
There are currently 7GW of renewable projects operational, under construction or consented.
The Scottish Government's target is to meet the equivalent of 100% of gross annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020, in 2009 27.4% of Scotland's gross electricity demand was met from renewables.
In the second quarter of 2011, UK hydro generation increased by 74% on the equivalent quarter of 2010.
Given that Scotland has over 90% of the UK's hydro output the vast majority of the increase will be in Scotland.
UK onshore wind generation increased by 111% on the equivalent quarter of 2010. Scotland has approximately 48% of the UK's wind output.
There is approximately 4500 megawatts of renewables capacity in operation in Scotland.
It is estimated Scotland has enough capacity operational and in the planning system to meet up to three quarters of its electricity demand.
Mr Ewing, said: "2011 has been an exceptional year for renewable energy in Scotland - truly the best year yet - and I am proud to be energy minister at such an exciting time.
"We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables by 2020, as well as electricity generation from other energy technologies.
"But most importantly we have taken real steps to ensure that communities all over Scotland will benefit from the renewable energy generated in their area, with a community benefit register which will help empower communities, as well as loans projects to help them develop renewable energy projects of their own."