New figures have shown Scotland’s renewables industry is now the country’s principal source of electricity.
The sector generated 49.7% of electricity in 2014.
The statistics have been hailed as “a clear sign of how important renewables have become to our energy sector” by industry body Scottish Renewables.
Senior Policy Manager Joss Blamire said: “These new figures confirm that in 2014 Scotland produced the equivalent of 49.7% of its electricity from renewable energy – the highest proportion ever, and up almost 12% on 2013.
“These latest UK Government figures are a clear sign of how important renewables have become to our energy sector.”
Scotland has a 2015 target of generating the equivalent of 50% of its energy from green sources, which acts as a marker for an overall 2020 target.
But Mr Blamire warned: “While we are now almost half way to our 2020 goal of producing the equivalent of 100% of our electricity from renewables, the second half of the target is going to be much harder to achieve than the first.
“To see further progress, both the UK and Scottish Governments must now put renewables at the heart of their energy policy in terms of cutting carbon emissions, reducing bills for consumers and increasing our energy security.”
The new stats come in the quarterly Energy Trends report, released today (December 22) by the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.
In the UK as a whole, 23.5% of electricity was generated by renewables in the third quarter of this year, up 6% on the same period last year. Wind remains Britain’s leading renewable technology, followed by bioenergy (9.1%), solar PV (3.5%) and hydro (1.4%).
Coal’s share of electricity generation decreased from 21% to 17% and gas generation also fell from 38% to 35% in the third quarter of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said: “Today’s figures show that the wind industry is continually upping its contribution of clean electricity to British homes, offices and factories. Wind energy is a success story which the 35,000 people who this work in this industry in the UK are proud to be a part of.
“Our main focus at the moment is driving down the cost of wind energy even further, to help consumers. The more we install, the cheaper the clean electricity we generate becomes. That’s why we’re keen to see onshore and offshore wind continuing to play a central role in our wide-ranging energy mix.
“The growth of wind energy in the UK is a cause for celebration. We’re keeping the lights on, keeping cost to the consumer down, and making sure we deliver on our climate change responsibilities.”