Oil and gas production in the UK rose while the proportion of electricity produced by renewables in Scotland have hit an all time high, new figures show.
The Energy Trends report, published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found that UK production of oil and gas rose 8.3% to the end of the third quarter 2016. The boost meant imports fell by 1million tons to 4.1million – the equivalent of 27% of UK refineries’ demand.
Meanwhile, power supplied by wind, hydro, solar and other renewables was enough to meet 59.4% of Scotland’s electricity needs in 2015 – up from 49.7% in 2014.
Mike Tholen, upstream policy director for Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) said the “encouraging” rise in hydrocarbon production backed the trade body’s own predictions for North Sea production.
“It’s encouraging to see that the rise in production we first reported in our Economic Report has continued,” he said.
“It suggests that, despite an incredibly tough year, the industry’s continuing commitment to improving efficiency is having a positive impact on productivity.
“News that we are now less reliant on imports than we were at this time last year is an excellent way to enter the festive period.”
He added: “There remains more to be done however, and we hope industry can continue to work hard to build on these gains throughout the coming year.”
Lang Banks, director of environmental group, WWF Scotland welcomed the boost in renewables production.
“It’s fantastic news to learn that Scotland now generates a record 59% of its electricity needs from clean renewable sources. Not only do renewables continue to be the largest source of power generation, but record amounts of electricity were able to be exported to the rest of the UK,” he said.
“Scotland’s amazing growth in generating renewable electricity is mainly thanks to many years of leadership from Scottish Government. We hope the progress highlighted by these latest figures inspires them to continue to show leadership in their forthcoming climate change and energy plans.”
Scotland has a target to deliver the equivalent of 100% of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, and the 59.4% figure is the latest indication of progress towards that goal.