Renewable electricity, alongside other forms of renewable energy such as heat and biofuels for transport, has a key role to play in helping tackle climate change. It also offers opportunities for economic benefit. Scotland has a huge potential renewable resource - enough to meet our current peak demand for electricity several times over and allow Scotland to continue to be a net exporter of electricity.
The shift towards a diverse range of renewable technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, biomass and wave and tidal power alongside our existing hydro capacity can secure significant investment in Scotland, provide export opportunities, and create jobs in the manufacture and installation of the generators and the associated infrastructure/supply chain. Households and community renewable projects can also engage people in sustainable development, empowering them to help meet their energy needs sustainably.
Electricity generation in Scotland takes place within a privatised (albeit strongly regulated) market. Commercial generators will respond to a range of market, legislative (see next section) and regulatory signals in proposing new capacity, taking into account additional factors such as the availability and costs of grid connection and the global market price of electricity. Output on an annual basis will reflect the rate of new capacity build and will also be affected by elements such as wind speeds and rainfall.
Strategy - Our 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland was developed in partnership with the renewables industry, and sets out the collective actions required to maximise the economic benefits of Scotland's renewables resource, and achieve our targets, which include meeting the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020.
Legislation - The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) creates a market mechanism which rewards investment in new renewable generating capacity and the Scottish Marine Bill will establish a system of marine planning giving industry the certainty they need for long-term investment in renewables.
Planning and Consents - Under Section 36 of the Energy Act 1989 Scottish Ministers are responsible for determining renewable energy applications for projects of 50MW and above.
Funding - The Scottish Government has provided significant levels of funding for emerging renewable technologies, and continues to support the sector through a range of initiatives including the £18m Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, the £10m Saltire Prize for marine energy, the £35m POWERS fund to support production of full-scale prototypes of next generation offshore wind turbines, the £70m National Renewables Infrastructure Fund, and loans for community renewables through our CARES scheme.
Research and development - including investment in the unique test and demonstration facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.
In 2016, the amount of electricity generated in Scotland by renewable sources was equivalent to 54.0% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland. This is the first reduction since 2010 and was a decrease of 5.4 percentage points compared with 59.4% in 2015.
The data is available at the bottom of the page.
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.5 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Highlands and Island Enterprise
Wealthier and Fairer