New figures have revealed that Scotland has missed a target to generate the equivalent of 100% of its electrical demand from renewables in 2020 by just 3%.
The country reached 97.4% from renewable sources, an increase by 7.9% from the last reported figure in 2019.
The target was set in 2011, when renewable energy technology generated only 37% of national demand.
Industry body Scottish Renewables said that in the last 10 years the output had tripled – with enough power for around 7 millions homes.
The Scottish Government ’s Climate Change Bill sets out a legally binding target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045. Ministers want half of all energy demand across heat, transport and electricity to come from renewable generation.
All coal-fired power stations have now closed, with Longannet finally shutting in 2016, but the Peterhead gas-fired power station in Aberdeenshire still remains.
Around 90% of Scotland’s energy demand now comes from wind, hydro and solar power, according to Scottish Renewables manifesto for the next government.
The group wants the next government to have 60% of energy across the country powered by renewable sources by 2030, arguing that each gigawatt of power created adds 1,500 jobs and £133m to the economy.
Scotland generated 31.8 twh (terra watts per hour) in 2020, which is the the equivalent of powering all homes in Scotland for almost three and a half years.
Scotland’s net exports of electricity in 2020 was at its highest to date at 19.3 twh – a 21% increase compared to 2019. The country’s electricity exports had an estimated wholesale market value of £760m.
The majority of Scotland’s renewable electricity generation continues to come from wind, which generates 23.2 twh. Offshore wind continued to grow in 2020, with 3.5 twh was generated last year via offshore wind.
Claire Mack, chief executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “Domestic and commercial transport accounts for almost 25% of the energy used in Scotland, with heat making up more than half, as well as more than half of its emissions.
“Currently 6.5% of our non-electrical heat demand is generated from renewable sources – the technologies we need to replace gas in our homes largely exist now but deploying these across the country is an enormous task.
“Scotland’s renewable energy projects are displacing tens of millions of tonnes of carbon every year, employing the equivalent of 17,700 people and bringing enormous socio-economic benefits to communities across the country,” Mack added. “Industry and government must continue to work together to address the challenges which exist if we are to fully realise our potential, meet net-zero by 2045 and achieve a just energy transition.
Last week, the Just Transition Commission (JTC) – an independent commission set up in 2019 to advise the Scottish Government – said that Scotland’s transition to net-zero emissions by 2045 must be a “national mission with social justice at its heart”.
In its final report, the JTC acknowledged that creating a net-zero economy means a fundamental transformation of the nation’s economy.
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