Scotland: 50% powered by renewables in 2014
Scotland has met its 50% renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule after a surge of 11.7% in the past year alone.
Figures published today (26 March) by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) for renewable energy generation in 2014 reveal that 49.6% of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources in Scotland last year - an increase from 44.4% in 2013.
The figures show that renewables generated 32% more electricity than any other single source of power in Scotland.
In total, the renewables sector generated a record 10.3TWh, compared to 7.8TWh2 from nuclear generation - previously Scotland's main source of electricity. The figures also show that coal and gas-fired electricity generation produced 5.6TWh and 1.4TWh respectively over the same six-month period.
Wind made the most significant contribution to the total with 11,592 GWh, up 4% from 2013, and making it another record breaking year for wind. Bioenergy saw the biggest increase in output - rising 11.7% in the last year.
Scottish Renewables chief executive Niall Stuart said: "The announcement that renewables have become Scotland's main source of electricity is historic news for our country, and shows the investment made in the sector is helping to deliver more power than ever before to our homes and businesses.
"Every unit of power generated from renewables means less carbon emitted from the burning of fossil fuels, decreases our reliance on imported energy and supports jobs and investment in communities across Scotland."
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing added: "2014 was also another record breaking year for wind output and the Scottish Government remains committed to continuing this upward trend. The recent independent survey by YouGov shows further support for the development of wind power, with an increase to 71 per cent in public backing.
"The Scottish Government has made its energy policy a top priority and has achieved great progress, despite being limited in terms of its devolved responsibilities. We look forward to proposals for more powers encompassing the necessary levers to deliver Scottish priorities."
WWF Scotland said that for Scotland to meet its next renewable target in 2020, the offshore wind sector would have a major role to play.
WWF Scotland's head of policy Dr Sam Gardner said: "To ensure the continued growth of this industry, attract supply chain investment, and continue to bring down costs, the next UK Government must provide a stable and sustained funding pipeline for offshore wind and clear volume signals in the 2020s."
Scotland is significantly ahead of the rest of the UK, where renewables still only account for a fifth of all UK electricity. However this increase in greener energy generation has still contributed to an 8% drop in total emissions.