SCOTLAND is well on its way to meeting targets for the generation of electricity from renewable sources, according to UK Government statistics.

Statistics published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change yesterday show that Scotland has almost met its 50 per cent renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule.

The provisional Renewable Electricity Generation 2014 national statistics show that 49.6 per cent of electricity consumption came from renewable sources in Scotland last year – up from 44.4 per cent in 2013. The figures show that renewables-generated electricity increased last year by 11.7 per cent and is now estimated at almost 19,000 gigawatt-hours (gwh). This is approximately enough electricity to power the equivalent of an additional 430,000 Scottish households for a year, compared to 2013.

Hydro, bioenergy and wind generation all increased, with hydro at a record high level – up 26 per cent to 5,503 gwh – and another record year for wind output, up four per cent from 2013 to 11,592 gwh.

The Scottish figures compare favourably to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s UK-wide figures. In the three months to the end of January, 2015, coal provided 35.4 per cent of electricity generation by major power producers, with gas at 26.9 per cent and nuclear at 19 per cent.

Wind generation by major producers was up 6.9 per cent due to increased capacity, with overall renewables up 18.9 per cent.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Renewable electricity generation continues to go from strength to strength in Scotland – and I am pleased we have almost met our 50 per cent renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule.

“Harnessing Scotland’s vast energy wealth has multiple benefits – reducing our carbon emissions, creating jobs and investment and helping keep the lights on across these islands.

“A recent publication on the low-carbon sector showed in 2013 there were 45,000 people employed across the low-carbon sector and its supply chain in Scotland, making a vital contribution to our economy.

“The Scottish Government has made its energy policy a top priority and has achieved great progress, despite being limited in terms of its devolved responsibilities.”