Scotland is about to hit its 100% renewable electricity target

25th May 2020 | Commercial Energy

The UK has just experienced over a month when no coal was burned to make electricity, the first time since coal-fired power stations were built. When Longannet power station’s turbines stopped spinning in 2016 that was the end of 115 years of coal burning for power in Scotland. Around the world, coal-fired power production is in terminal decline and in some places, it is already cheaper to build new renewable power generation than to keep running a gas-fired power station.

Last year three-quarters of new generation capacity build around the world was renewables, principally solar and wind. Even under pro-coal Donald Trump, renewables will overtake coal for US electricity production this year. The only major fossil-fuel power station left in Scotland, the gas-fired station at Peterhead, is running at much-reduced capacity and likely to close in the next few years.

Renewable electricity

We have two nuclear stations, but the two reactors at Hunterston have hardly run in the last two years because of cracking in their cores and are currently shut down, quite possibly never to start again. We are in the midst of an energy revolution. It moves quite slowly so you may not have understood that the power that flows when you flick a switch today is very different from the power that flowed 30 years ago. And that’s great because taking the carbon out of our electricity is essential in the fight against climate change.

Also essential is substituting electricity from renewable for fossil fuels in heating and transport. Energy industry staff are essential workers in this lockdown period, keeping power flowing. Construction work on new renewable energy schemes has stopped for now, but it will surge back.

Today, renewable energy produces 90 per cent of the electricity we use in Scotland and more of it includes ownership by communities. Because of planning delays and lack of support from the UK Government, we won’t quite reach the target of 100 per cent by the end of this year but big schemes already under construction and in the pipeline mean it won’t be long before we do.

More information available on the website below