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Renewable energy targets
Scotland is set to surpass its tough renewable energy target for 2011, Jim Mather said today.
The Energy Minister was speaking at the SCDI's conference on Scotland's Energy Future, where he revealed new figures on the total amount of renewable electricity schemes either already operating or with planning permission.
He said that taken together, this figure of 5.5 Gigawatts (GW) is enough to take Scotland past the target of generating 31 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2011.
This comes after a total private investment of over £800 million in green energy schemes over the last few weeks.
Mr Mather said:
"Scotland has won the energy lottery. Our renewable resources have been estimated at more than 60GW, ten times Scotland's peak electricity consumption. In 2006 Scotland produced 92 per cent of its electricity needs from fossil fuels, renewables and pumped hydro storage - and we are still just scratching at the surface of what we can achieve in areas like marine renewables or biomass.
"That is why this Government has built its energy policy around mining this rich potential and will not make the potentially costly, harmful and damaging mistake of considering new nuclear power generation for Scotland. The Scottish Parliament has endorsed that position - our people don't want new nuclear power and we don't need it.
"One of our first acts on coming to power was to make the renewable energy targets even more stringent - pledging to ensure 31 per cent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2011. Today I can confirm that if we add all the potential energy from consented renewable projects to those already operating we will comfortably exceed our target.
"This is just further demonstration of the way the wind is blowing. It backs up the wave of recent announcements - a recent renewables surge - like planning consent for the Clyde windfarm, the largest single consented onshore windfarm in Europe under construction, a new biomass plant at Markinch in Fife, and an extension to Crystal Rig Windfarm. These alone amount to a total private investment of over £800 million in green energy schemes over the last few weeks. And they demonstrate our commitment to making planning decisions more quickly - providing the industry with the kind of certainty it needs to bring projects forward.
"So we can rely on established technologies like hydro power, where a study published just last week indicated that Scotland has enough untapped hydro potential to power a quarter of the nation's homes. And we can promote and support innovation in areas like tide and wave power - demonstrated by the world leading Saltire Prize and the fabulous testing facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. This approach will mean a secure, safe, affordable and green energy future for Scotland."
Mr Mather also said the Scottish Government had published an energy overview today.
For electricity, the aim of the Scottish Government is that 50% of Scottish demand for electricity should be met from renewable sources by 2020, with a milestone of 31% by 2011. That milestone is equivalent to around 5GW of installed capacity. Demand here defined as Gross consumption (Generation - exports + imports).
In recent weeks the SG has gathered data on the number and size of smaller renewables projects that would not receive planning consent from the Government - windfarms under 50 MW and hydro schemes under 1MW (ETC). When this is combined with the total consented by Government and the total currently operating, the figure is 5.5GW - more than 5GW which would see the 2011 target achieved. Most of the consented projects will be operating by 2011, and there is still plenty of time for more projects to come forward, be approved and constructed in the time available - meaning Scotland is well on course to meet the target.
The Scottish Government's Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 36 renewable project applications - 26 wind farm, nine hydro and one wave project, which equates to 2.5 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity.
Since May 2007 this administration has determined 17 renewable projects, 13 of which were consented. Over the course of the previous four years (2003-7) 19 renewable projects were determined, 17 of which were consented.
Current installed renewables capacity in Scotland totals 2.8 Gigawatts. Installed nuclear capacity is 2090 MW . Approval of the Clyde windfarm means that the total installed capacity either built or consented and under construction is now 5.5GW.
In Scotland between 2005 and 2006:
- Electricity generated by renewable sources (apart from hydro natural flow) increased by 46 per cent
- As a result of unplanned outages, nuclear's share of generation fell from 38 per cent to 26 per cent in Scotland
- In 2006, Scotland could have supplied 92 per cent of its electricity needs from non-nuclear sources
- Electricity generated in Scotland increased by nine per cent. In 2005, Scotland exported 15 per cent of the electricity generated to consumers elsewhere in the UK, but this rose to 20 per cent in 2006