SCOTLAND saw a remarkable rise in the generation of electricity from renewable sources last year, and notched up record exports of electricity transfers to England.

A record high of 4.8TWh of electricity was transferred from Scotland to England in the final quarter of 2017, almost double that recorded in the same period a year earlier, with overall transfers south up 31 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016.

New figures issued yesterday by the Scottish Government show that renewable electricity generation in Scotland in 2017 increased by 26 per cent year-on-year, and was 14 per cent up on the previous record year in 2015.

Last year was thus a record year for renewable electricity generation and for the first time ever Scotland has more than 10GW of installed renewable capacity.

It is estimated that the equivalent of 68.1 per cent of gross electricity consumption came from renewable sources, up 14.1 percentage points from 54 per cent in 2016. The Scottish Government said: “This is 45 percentage points more than the equivalent figure for the rest of the UK.”

The latest figures published yesterday also show that in 2017, wind generation increased by 34 per cent and hydro by nine per cent.

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Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse welcomed the record saying: “These figures show that Scotland’s renewable energy sector is stronger than ever and has a strong pipeline of further projects still to be constructed.

“Despite damaging policy changes from the UK Government that will soon come into full effect, we continue to harness, galvanize and support Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure.

“Scotland’s Energy Strategy recognises and builds on our achievements to date and on our country’s capacity for innovation. Renewable energy will play a hugely significant role in powering Scotland’s future and through the strategy we want to ensure the correct strategic decisions are taken to support this much valued sector of Scotland’s economy as it goes from strength to strength.”

New UK Government figures also show Scotland is punching above its weight in renewable energy generation, with 25 per cent of all UK renewable electricity produced north of the Border in 2017.

Claire Mack, chief executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland has an enormous renewable energy resource: our winds, waves, tides, rainfall and even our longer daylight hours are tremendous assets to the country, and renewable energy enables us to use them to produce direct economic and environmental benefits.

“These figures show Scotland as a renewable energy powerhouse, producing more electricity than ever and transferring much of it to markets in the rest of Great Britain, all the time reducing carbon emissions from our power sector.”