Scotland’s renewable energy was 97% of demand in 2020

Back in 2011, Scotland has set itself a target related to green energy: it aimed to generate the equivalent of 100% of the country’s gross electricity demand from renewable energies by 2020. Although the country has not achieved this target, 97.4% of its gross electricity consumption came from clean energy sources last year. Scottish Renewables, the trading body for the Scottish renewable energy industry, said (PDF) which shows an 8% increase over 2019 figures.

The general manager of the commercial organization, Claire Mack, added that the industry has “more than tripled [its] renewable electricity ”and generated“ enough to power the equivalent of more than 7 million homes ”. Wind remains the country’s main source of renewable energy, although hydropower experienced the strongest growth last year.

The Scottish authorities hope that renewable energy sources can meet 50% of the country’s energy demand for electricity, heating and transport by 2030. The country has a lot of work to do to achieve this goal, however, in particular by as regards transport and heating.

Mack said “domestic and commercial transport accounts for almost 25 percent of the energy used in Scotland, with heat accounting for more than half, as well as more than half of its emissions”. Currently, renewable sources only meet 6.5% of its non-electric heat demand. “The technologies we need to replace gas in our homes are largely there now, but rolling them out across the country is a huge task,” Mack said. “Industry and government must continue to work together to address the challenges that exist if we are to realize our full potential, achieve net zero by 2045 and achieve a just energy transition.”

Holly O’Donnell, head of climate and energy policy at WWF Scotland, calls for accelerated deployment of EVs and more subsidies for renewable heating. These could help Scotland to rely more on renewables for heating and transport, as well as reduce emissions from these sources.

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