Scotland achieves renewable energy record for another year

Scotland has started the near year with the news that the country has 595 MW of installed community and locally-owned renewable energy sources, an increase of 17% on the previous year’s figure.

This report from the Energy Saving Trust details the extent of renewable energy sources installed across Scotland, as well as a breakdown of the further 490 MW worth of renewable generators in various stages of planning and construction.

Wind turbines on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides

Wind turbines on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides

The report signals good news for the Scottish government, which had initially set the target of installing 500 MW of community-owned renewable energy by 2020.

Having already achieved this milestone three years early, the Scottish government has since revised its target, and intends to reach 1 GW of community-owned renewables projects by 2020, and extending this to 2 GW by 2030.

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The original target has been achieved thanks to the Scottish government’s commitment to providing support – financially, through grants, as well as by offering advice – to eligible communities.

Government support is open to a large number of organisations and groups to help boost the renewable capacity of the country; from community groups, farms and housing associations to local authorities, colleges and universities, groups who want to invest in renewable energy sources are able to apply for government support.

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The EST report shows the spread of locally-owned renewable sources across that range of groups, with Farms & Estates the owners of 244 MW of the installed capacity. Local Authorities hold 108 MW, and Local Businesses 74 MW; Public Sector & Charity groups own 55 MW, and Community groups hold 67 MW in total.

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This distribution is typical, and the share held by Local Authorities has increased thanks to the installation of solar panels and solar pumps by local authorities and housing associations.

This image shows the location and output capacity of community owned generators, taken from the Energy Saving Trust report:


Overall, photovoltaic solar capacity has more than doubled since 2015, and now stands at 39 MW. However, wind and biomass are by far the most popular generators producing a huge 273 MW and 153 MW respectively. Combined, the two sources account for almost 72% of the 595 MW figure.

In terms of planned renewable projects, a further 340 MW of wind turbines are at various stages of planning and construction; this figure makes up almost 70% of the 490 MW of planned renewable capacity to be installed over the next three years.

The Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation which advises on energy conservation and efficiency. You can find more of their reports on their website.