SCOTLAND’s renewables sector is leading the field when it comes to pipeline capacity – the maximum power output for any given source of energy – according to new research.

Central and southern Scotland have added an additional 1003MW since April last year – the largest rise in the UK, with most of it coming from wind.

The research from Cornwall Insights ranked eastern England in second place with a rise in capacity of 800MW.

Their “Renewables Pipeline Tracker” – which displays the data by distribution network operator (DNO) region for visualisation, and accounts for projects still to connect to the transmission network – said most of the UK had seen a net increase in capacity over the past year.

London was the only region to see a small net decrease of 5MW in capacity, with a total of 26MW of energy from waste (EfW) incineration leaving the pipeline.

Onshore wind farms are becoming increasingly popular in Scotland, and range in size from a single-turbine unit outside an isolate farmhouse, for instance, to the likes of the country’s – and Europe’s – biggest project at Whitelee on Eaglesham Moor. This wind farm initially had 140 turbines generating 322MW of electricity – enough to power 200,000 homes.

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Cornwall Insights analyst Laura Woolsey said: “There is no one technology type driving the regional increases; however, certain technology types dominate specific regions.

“For example, Scotland has seen the largest increase in onshore wind, particularly in central and southern Scotland. Other areas have seen proportionally smaller changes in total capacity within the last year. Onshore wind is overwhelmingly located in Scotland likely due to a more supportive planning framework and wider factors such as wind speed conditions and land access.

“Although onshore wind dominates capacity in this region, high transmission network use of system (TNUoS) costs have been highlighted as a potential barrier to development.

“Offshore wind also has large capacity levels in Scotland and in the east of England where several large-scale sites are expected to connect to the transmission network.

“Central and southern England has seen the largest increases in solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity, which is more likely to connect at the distribution level.

“However, battery capacity has changed more widely across Great Britain, with east/south-eastern regions and Scotland seeing the largest increases to the pipeline.”

Morag Watson, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “With two-thirds of the UK’s onshore wind fleet, Scotland’s onshore wind sector was disproportionately hit when this technology was locked out of the energy market for almost five years from 2015.

“The sector is set for a resurgence with the reintroduction of this low-cost, mature technology to the Contracts for Difference auctions, which will once again be able to deliver enormous economic benefits across the country.”