Electricity generated (GigaWatt hours)
The combustion of fossil fuel, especially coal, is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is one of a basket of six greenhouse gases that the UK is committed to reduce under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
In 2010, Scotland generated 49,910 GWh of electricity, 3% less than in 2009. Renewable electricity generation decreased by approximately 11% over this period, accounting for 19% of the total generated. Hydro generation accounted for 34% of Scotland's renewable electricity generation in 2010 and was down 33% on 2009 levels due to drier weather. Scotland generated 9,516 GWh of electricity from renewable sources in 2010. This equated to 24% of the gross consumption of electricity in Scotland, compared with 12% in 2000. The Scottish Government has set a target for renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption by 2020, with an interim milestone of 31% by 2011. Recent data shows an increase in renewable electricity generation of 46% to 13,735 GWh in 2011.
Fossil fuels accounted for 49% of Scotland's electricity in 2010. Coal and gas are the two main fossil fuels used for electricity generation, with oil used to a lesser extent. There was a slight upward trend in generation from gas and oil between 2005 and 2008, but this dropped in 2009, and in 2010 reached its lowest level in the 2000s. The mix of fossil fuels used in any year is affected by relative fuel prices. Electricity generated by coal increased by 23% from 2009 to 2010 to its highest level since 2006.
Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases although its use raises other environmental issues, including the long-term disposal of spent fuel. In 2010, 31% of electricity generated in Scotland was from nuclear power stations, compared with 33% in 2009. Scotland's two nuclear stations currently have decommissioning dates of 2016 and 2023, No new nuclear power stations are currently planned.
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