Frequently Asked Questions
Energy in Scotland: Get the facts
There are 21,000 jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in Scotland across 9 renewable energy sectors. The largest single sector was onshore wind, followed by solar PV, and heat pumps. Source: The Size and Performance of the UK Low Carbon Economy
Renewable electricity generation in Scotland made up approximately 26% of total UK renewable generation in 2015
Renewables are the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland—higher than both nuclear generation (33%) and fossil fuel generation (28%).
The Scottish Government has an ambitious but achievable target for renewable energy in Scotland to generate the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption and 11 per cent of heat consumption by 2020.
Wave and tidal energy
- Scotland has tremendous wave and tidal energy resources and the potential exists to generate more electricity than we currently need from the waters around the Scottish coast.
- Our flagship wave and tidal test facility, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), has over a decade of real-sea experience. There have been more grid-connected marine energy converters deployed at EMEC than at any other single site in the world and the centre remains the world’s only accredited marine energy laboratory.
- The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters is the site of the world's first commercial scale leasing round for marine energy.
In 2014, the two largest renewable technology generators were wind with 62% and hydro with 29%
Wind generation in 2015 was at a record high level at 14,136 GWh and is nearly 7 times the level of wind in 2006
Scotland boasts 25% of Europe's offshore wind resources
Scotland was the one of the first countries in the world to harness electricity from its waters. That legacy is still visible - Scotland's ambitious hydro building programme in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in infrastructure which still produces electricity today.
Hydro generation in 2015 was at a record high level - 5,828 GWh, up 7.2% on 2014.
North Sea oil and gas
- On an internationally comparable basis Scotland is estimated to have the largest oil reserves in the European Union, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of total EU reserves.
- Since the 1970s, over 40 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) have been extracted from the UK Continental Shelf. However, the remaining oil and gas reserves on the UKCS are substantial, for example, Oil and Gas UK estimate that up-to 24 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent can still be recovered from the UKCS as a whole.
- The North Sea still produces 1.5 million boe a day and Oil & Gas UK estimates that production could reach 2 million boe a day by 2017. In 2011, Scotland accounted for over 60% of EU oil production and approximately a third of EU total hydrocarbon production.
- Oil and gas production is estimated to have contributed around £22 billion to Scottish GDP in 2012 – making it the largest industrial sector in Scotland by a large margin.
- Since 1976, the UK Government has raised approximately £180 billion in direct tax revenue from oil and gas production. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to approximately £300 billion at 2012-13 prices.
- In 2011-12 alone, oil and gas production in Scottish waters generated £10.6 billion in tax revenues, the second highest nominal level of tax revenue in the past 25 years.
- The Scottish Government Oil and Gas Analytical Bulletin (11 March 2013) found that given recent trends in investment and prices, the oil and gas industry could generate between £41 and £57 billion in tax revenue over the six years to 2017-18.
- The industry provides employment for around 200,000 people across Scotland both directly in the industry and by supporting jobs in other sectors of the economy.
Frequently asked questions
Page updated: Friday, July 15, 2016