Scotland set to exceed 31% renewables by 2011

Scottish energy minister Jim Mather announced on Tuesday that renewable generation is on target to exceed 31% of Scotland’s electricity needs by 2011 and 50% by 2020

The announcement came at a Scottish Council Development and Industry conference on Scotland’s Energy Future. He revealed that the Scottish Government’s 2011 target of 31% renewable electricity could be met by schemes already operating or with planning permission. The target is equivalent to around 5GW of installed capacity.

Data on smaller renewables projects, which do not require government planning consent, plus figures on schemes already consented showed that capacity could reach 5.5GW by 2011, Mr Mather said.

“Scotland has won the energy lottery. Our renewable resources have been estimated at over 60GW, ten times Scotland’s peak energy consumption,” Mr Mather said. He added that the country was “still just scratching at the surface” of marine or biomass sources and would not be pursuing “the potentially costly, harmful and damaging mistake” of new nuclear power plants.

The minister said that consents for some 36 projects including 26 wind, nine hydro and one wave scheme were currently being processed. And 13 renewables projects had received planning permission since May 2007, compared to just 17 in the preceding four years.

The announcement came as the government unveiled an overview of its energy policies. A renewable energy framework is also to be published in 2009, with a draft expected later this month. This will consider renewable energy for transport as well as energy for heat and power.