Scotland aims to generate 50% of the nation’s electricity demand from renewable sources by 2015.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced the new target yesterday at the RenewableUK conference in Glasgow based on the sector’s rapid progress.
It comes after DECC’s statistics showed Scotland met 35% of its electricity demand from renewables last year, beating the previous target of 31% by the end of 2011.
Mr Salmond said Scotland’s renewables success presented the country with a “massive economic opportunity” and the new target would also help it cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020.
He added: “Expanding our renewable electricity capacity in Scotland will help deliver security of supply, not just in Scotland but at UK level. Ofgem predicted earlier this month that by 2015 the UK’s electricity generation might exceed peak demand by only 4%. That’s a steep decline from today’s 14% and even that 4% margin is only achieved by ending electricity exports to Ireland.
“The position for Scotland is very different. By 2015 our generation capacity could exceed peak demand by approximately 35%. This underlines that renewables, alongside our other generation sources, is crucial to energy security in Scotland. It’s also crucial to the UK.”
The First Minister said creating more clean energy is essential for Scotland and the new target provides energy security, environmental sustainability and employment opportunities.
Currently, Scotland’s energy production from renewables cuts carbon emissions by 15% – the equivalent of taking around 3.5 million cars off the roads.