SCOTLAND’S renewable energy output reached record levels in 2015, as wind turbines produced enough energy to meet the average electricity needs of 97per cent of Scottish homes.

The statistics released by WWF today show that wind energy alone generated enough power to provide 41 per cent of Scotland’s total electricity output, including homes, businesses and industry.

Experts within the energy sector hailed 2015 as a huge year for the industry, with a 16 per cent overall increase from the figures collected at the end of 2014.

Although production within the Scottish sector increased, the SNP announced they will be taking the issue of renewables directly to the UK Government, claiming that the Tories have mounted an “assault against the renewable sector”.

SNP energy spokesman Callum McCaig said that the UK Government was continuing to hold the industry back, and that it should be supporting clean energy rather than “choking it off with these ludicrous cuts”.

United Nations’ chief environment scientist, Professor Jacquie McGlade, heavily criticised the UK Government’s renewable cuts in an uncharacteristic outburst in October, when she said the government were sending a “perverse signal” by withdrawing renewable subsidies.

Last month it was found that several turbine projects had been held back by the Government’s rigid approach to renewable energy production, leading to campaigners claiming that the conservatives were “determined to wreck” Scotland’s clean energy industry.

Despite the seeming reluctance of David Cameron to throw support behind the sector, Scotland’s solar production also significantly increased during the last 12 months.

In December and January, enough wind energy was produced to power 146 per cent of Scottish homes, while in the summer months homes fitted with solar panels in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow generated more than 50 per cent of the electricity needs of an average household.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said that the statistics showed the true potential of the renewable industry, and urged all political parties to commit to its future.

“Without doubt, 2015 was a huge year for renewables,” Banks said. “With 2016 being a critical year politically, we’d like to see each of the political parties back policies that would enable Scotland to become the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.”

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing stressed that renewables now play a crucial role in the country’s energy security.

“Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do,” Ewing said.

“Despite damaging policy changes from the UK Government, we will continue to harness – and bolster – Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure.

“Devolved administrations, like the Scottish Government, will be strong drivers of a progressive climate agenda. A low-carbon economy is more than just a practical way forward – green energy plays a crucial role in the security of Scotland’s energy supply.”

Wind turbines provided a record 10,392,439MWh of electricity to the National Grid during the 12 month period, some 41 per cent of Scotland’s total electricity consumption, which was 25,161,916MWh. The average energy usage of a Scottish household is above the UK average at 4,435 kWh.

Karen Robinson, of WeatherEnergy, said: “Following the recent Paris climate talks, where there were calls for greater use of low-carbon energy sources, the data shows that renewables are already playing a major and increasing role in Scotland’s, and the rest of the UK’s, overall energy mix.

“Despite misconceptions, Scotland also has massive potential for using solar power too.

“The data clearly shows that there’s plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family’s electricity needs for the majority of months of the year.”

The National View: Future must be renewables