New estimates from the Department of Energy and Climate Change reveal that 35% of Scotland’s energy consumption last year came from renewable energy sources, surpassing the government’s goal of 31% for 2011.
Environmental groups welcomed the news as a sign that Scotland is on the right path to achieving its ambitious goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
Compared to 2010, energy output from renewable sources increased 44% in 2011 – a year in which £750 million of investments came online. As a result, Scotland accounted for 40% of all renewable energy produced in the UK last year.
Such rapid growth, particularly as it pertains to wind, has not been without controversy.
A new wind farm to be sited in Shetland was approved by the Scottish government on Monday, but had to be reduced from nearly 200 turbines to 103 due to concerns that the project as initially proposed was too large and would blight the landscape. Still, the installation will be the third-largest in Scotland.
Shetland has a population of about 22,000, yet when operational in 2017 , the wind farm is expected to generate 370MW — enough to power 175,000 households. Owned in part by community-based Viking Energy, the project is expected to add £30m to the local economy through the sale of excess power.