Elaine Maslin, 29th June 2012
Scotland generated record levels of electricity from renewables in 2011 – nearly double the amount in 2006 – according to figures released yesterday.
New data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) showed 13,735 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy were generated in Scotland in 2011, up 44.3% on the previous year and up 97.3% on 2006.
This amounted to about 35% of electricity demand, said the Scottish Government.
For the first quarter of this year, it said output from renewables has grown again by 45.5%, to 4,590 GWh hours, on the same period the year before.
One GWh equals one million kilowatt hours – enough to supply the average power requirement for around 2,000 homes for an hour, according to Ofgem.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The increase of 45.5% in renewable output in quarter one 2012 compared to quarter one 2011 is particularly encouraging when you consider that 2011 saw the highest output from renewable energy to date.
“Projects representing £750million of investment were switched on in 2011, with an investment pipeline of £46billion.
“Industry figures show 11,000 people are employed in renewables in Scotland already, a figure which is set to grow.”
The figures were also welcomed by WWF Scotland. Its head of policy, Dan Barlow, said: “To ensure Scotland remains on track to a fully-renewable future we need to see continued and rapid deployment of all forms of renewables alongside investment in energy efficiency. Such a path will help create jobs, reduce pollution and protect households from volatile fossil fuel prices.”
However, according to DECC’s figures use of coal for electricity generation across the UK rose by nearly 20% – from 34.1% to 42% – in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2011, while renewables amounted to 11% – up 39%.
Gas accounted for 27% (down 30% on the same quarter in 2011) and nuclear at 17%.
Of overall energy consumption across the UK, including electricity and heating, renewables amounted to 3.8% in 2011, compared to 3.2% in 2010, according to DECC.
DECC’s figures also showed oil production in the first quarter fell 13% and gas fell 14.1% – a drop blamed on “maintenance work and slowdowns” on a number of fields.
The period saw continued issues from Nexen’s Buzzard installation, which produces oil from a number of fields, as well as a cut in production from the Elgin platform, which is still shut down following a major gas leak.
Gas imports fell by 6.3% while exports rose 37.8%. Most gas imports came from Norway, at 60%, and Qatar, at 23%.