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Scotland hails a record year for renewable energy

19th December 2011
Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has hailed 2011 as a "momentous" and "ground breaking" year for renewable energy in Scotland.
The year to October 2011 saw a record breaking £750 million of investment in renewable energy in Scotland, and there is a pipeline of proposed projects with 17 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity worth an estimated capital investment of £46 billion.

There are currently 7 GW of renewable projects operational, under construction or consented.

Scotland has the ambitious, but achievable goal of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity needs from renewables by 2020 – estimated to require around 16GW in 2020.

Department for Energy and Climate Change figures showed that renewables generation increased significantly in the first half of 2011 alone, with UK onshore wind energy generation up 111 per cent on the same period last year and hydro up by 74 per cent.

Important steps were taken to ensure communities all over Scotland shared the benefit from renewables, with the CARES scheme providing nearly £4 million in loans to help communities all over Scotland develop their own renewable energy projects and £1.9 million in loans given to develop community district heating projects.

Earlier this month, Mr Ewing announced a new public register to help communities get the most from renewable energy projects will be established next year.

Energy Minister Fergus 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 per cent of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables by 2020, as well as electricity generation from other energy technologies.

"We have switched on projects representing £750 million of investment in renewables this year alone, and there is a staggering £46 billion of investment in the pipeline.

"In March 2011 the Scottish Government consented the world's largest tidal energy array in Islay. Scottish Power's £40 million project will generate enough electricity for 5,000 homes –double the number on Islay.

"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."

The Scottish Government's target is to meet the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020.

In 2009 27.4 per cent of Scotland's gross electricity demand was met from renewables.

In the second quarter of 2011, UK hydro generation increased by 74 per cent on the equivalent quarter of 2010. Given that Scotland has over 90 per cent of the UK's hydro output the vast majority of the increase will be in Scotland. UK onshore wind generation increased by 111 per cent on the equivalent quarter of 2010. Scotland has approximately 48 per cent of the UK's wind output.

There is approximately 4500 megawatts of renewables capacity in operation in Scotland. It is estimated that Scotland has enough capacity operational and in the planning system to meet up to three quarters of its electricity demand.

Scottish Ministers have granted consent to 45 major renewable energy projects since May 2007.

Lease agreements have been secured for offshore wind projects in Scotland with potential capacity of up to 10 gigawatts by 2020.

Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters leasing round saw 11 leases awarded for wave and tidal projects, with total potential capacity of 1.6 gigawatts capacity.

A Scottish Renewables report published on November 1 2011 showed £750 million of new renewable electricity projects started generating in Scotland over the past year. The report stated that there is a pipeline of 17GW of renewable electricity projects worth an estimated £46 billion.

In November 2011, Moray Offshore Renewables consisting of EDP Renewables and Repsol announced details of a 4.5 billion project to create the world's largest offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth, with potential for up to 1,400 jobs during construction, and almost 300 jobs during operation.

In September 2011, 'Oyster' wave energy developer Aquamarine Power secured £7 million of new funding to help take it to commercialisation in 2014.

In March 2011 the Scottish Government consented the world's largest tidal energy array in Islay. Scottish Power's £40 million project will generate enough electricity for 5,000 homes – double the number on Islay.

On December 7 the First Minister Alex Salmond announced that the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney will collaborate with counterparts from the Ocean University of China (OUC) in Shandong Province to accelerate the development of marine energy technologies

The Scottish Government has successfully pressed the UK Govt to release £103 million of Scotland's Fossil Fuel Levy, which will allow it to step up investment in the renewables sector. The remaining half (over £100 million) will be used to capitalise the Green Investment Bank.

The Scottish Government's £35 million Prototyping for Offshore Wind Energy Renewables Scotland (POWERS) fund will support production of full-scale prototypes of next generation offshore wind turbines, aiming to leverage 80 million pounds of private investment.

The Scottish Government's £70 million National Renewables Infrastructure Fund aims to leverage private sector investment to develop ports and manufacturing facilities for offshore renewables.

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