Scotland over halfway to 2020 renewable generation target

ERI 05-05-2016

Scotland generated 21 983 GWh of renewable electricity in 2015, according to the latest round of Scottish Government energy statistics. Using 2014 electricity demand as a proxy for that of 2015 means for the first time Scotland generated more than half (57.7%) of its total electricity demand from renewable sources.

This marks a significant step towards the Scottish Government 2020 target of the equivalent to 100% of Scotland’s electricity demand being generated by renewables and shows substantial growth and progression in Scotland’s renewable industry; in 2003 the figure was just 9%. Wind in particular has contributed to this increase in renewable generation (see Table 1).

Year Wind Hydro Wave and tidal Solar PV Landfill Sewage Other biofuels Total
2000 216.7 4,665.30 0 0 68.5 0 21.1 4,971.60
2001 245.2 3,737.50 0 0 109.3 0 110.4 4,202.40
2002 406.1 4,455.40 0 0 157 0 80.1 5,098.70
2003 448.9 2,902.00 0 0 228 0 145.5 3,724.40
2004 848.4 4,474.80 0 0 339.2 0 169.8 5,832.20
2005 1,280.90 4,612.20 0 0 395.4 0 197.2 6,485.70
2006 2,022.90 4,224.90 0 0 424 0 283.7 6,955.60
2007 2,644.00 4,692.90 0 0 486.5 0 179.8 8,003.20
2008 3,360.10 4,700.60 0 0 501.7 20.3 479 9,061.80
2009 4,553.90 4,856.70 0.1 0 533.8 25.8 616.1 10,586.40
2010 4,921.90 3,255.50 0 0.8 529.1 31.9 725.5 9,464.80
2011 7,099.50 5,319.30 0.4 8.3 509.4 35.3 714 13,686.30
2012 8,294.30 4,838.30 0.5 67.2 547.1 35.4 902 14,684.90
2013 11,133.30 4,362.70 2.5 90.7 562.8 30.2 766.5 16,948.60
2014 11,664.10 5,435.80 2.1 131.7 533.5 28.2 1,166.50 18,961.90
2015 14,136.00 5,828.00 1 193 499 26 1,299.00 21,983.00

Table 1. Annual electricity generation (GWh) from different renewable sources in Scotland since 2000.

Scotland’s excellent wind resource is not the only reason behind growth in the industry; there has been strong political support from the Scottish Government and reliable financial assistance in the form of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). ROCs were introduced in 2003, giving a guaranteed level of subsidy to electricity produced by renewables. After the expected lag in the first year of the scheme due to planning and installation times there has been a rapid growth in wind power generated in Scotland (the reason for limited growth from 2009 to 2010 is 2010 was an exceptionally calm year). However, the UK Government is now switching subsidy schemes to one where renewables must enter a bidding process to secure funding. In the offshore wind sector in particular has already led to lengthy project delays.

Another renewable sector which has seen growth but is going to be heavily impacted by a change in subsidy is solar PV. In 2010 the UK Government introduced a generous feed-in tariff system responsible for the increasing penetration of solar PV from that year onwards. However, as mentioned in previous blog posts the feed-in tariffs for some renewables have been slashed, with solar power being one of the most heavily affected technologies; small residential scale solar has seen tariff levels drop from 12.47 p/kWh in December 2015 to 4.39 p/kWh, which has already resulted in a huge reduction in new installations. So despite the halfway mark being reached there are challenging times ahead in the next four years if Scotland is to meet its 100% target.

A full breakdown of the latest energy statistics from the Scottish Government can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0049/00498583.pdf

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MPs launch Belfast RE probe

AR pic stormont

The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee has launched in inquiry into the electricity sector which will examine Belfast’s renewable energy policy.

The inquiry will focus on a number of energy issues including Stormont’s “ambitious” 40% target for renewables by 2020.

This will be carried out, the committee said, “against a backdrop of reductions in the subsidies for onshore wind”. The Northern Ireland RO was closed to onshore wind earlier this month.

A predicted shortfall in generating capacity expected in Northern Ireland in the coming years and high power prices will also be investigated.

Committee char Conservative MP Laurence Robertson said energy prices “remain an ongoing concern”.

“The industry faces several challenges in the coming years, including an ambitious target for renewables, achieving adequate security of supply, and ensuring sufficient interconnector capacity,” he said.

“Our inquiry will examine the reasons for these relatively higher prices, and look to make recommendations that will bring Northern Ireland in line with the GB and Republic of Ireland markets.”

http://renews.biz/102474/mps-launch-belfast-re-probe