1 November 2022

Scotland is on its way up, up, and up. Windier weather and an increased capacity helped Scotland generate a new record amount of renewable electricity this spring. April, May, and June saw a total of 7,358 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity being produced across Scotland. It’s an almost 40% increase in the same period in 2021.

Our Scottish friends are leading the way in the UK’s green revolution. The nation’s green energy sector generates an estimated £5.6 billion in annual output and now employs over 27,000 people throughout the industry.

There’s been some confusion in the past around Scotland’s renewable industry. We’ve turned to our trade associate partners, Scottish Renewables, to find out more about how Scotland’s green energy industry is operating. While Scotland produces renewable electricity that is equivalent to its annual consumption, some of it is exported, leading to the use of non-renewable electricity.

2020 saw 56% of all of Scotland’s electricity consumption coming from renewables. 30% of its electricity consumption came from nuclear power with 13% coming from fossil fuels.

At Green Switch Capital, we’re working with partners throughout the UK to create a sustainable, self-reliant green energy market. We believe that renewable energy is the solution to climate change and the only way to achieve net zero by 2050. Read on to find out more about Scotland’s trailblazing green energy sector.

Scotland’s Record Renewable Electricity Levels

Scotland’s figures paint a bright picture. There were 7,358 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy produced in April, May, and June 2022 – 36% more than in the same time frame in 2021. It’s also 25% more than any figure for a second quarter on record.

Why have Scotland’s renewables seen such a jump in 2022? It’s partly due to the change in weather. 2021 saw milder weather with less wind, leading ultimately to a fall in the country’s renewable energy production.

However, this trend hasn’t stayed around for long. 2022 has brought higher rainfall, greater wind speeds, and an increased capacity to get Scotland’s green energy back on track.

This picture looks even more positive when you look beyond these three months. The Scottish government has said that 18,568 GWh of renewable electricity was generated in the first six months of 2022. It’s almost a 30% increase compared to the first six months of 2021.

The positive second-quarter production is vital for Scotland to stay on track to achieve its climate obligations, including achieving net zero by 2050. The country is keen to speed up its transition to green energy to increase the country’s energy security and become more resilient against future energy price fluctuations.

Recent months have shown that a heavy reliance on exports can send your country’s energy prices skyrocketing. The war in Ukraine has led to energy prices soaring for countries that rely heavily on Russian gas exports.

Although Scotland has been working on increasing its renewables capacity, it’s also seeing a demand in electricity consumption. 2021 figures are largely seen as having been suppressed due to the pandemic and the final lockdowns.

The increase in electricity consumption demand in the first six months of 2022 can be explained as a ‘return to normality’. The average daily electricity demand increased by almost 10% in the first six months of 2021 to 77.3 GWh.

Scotland’s Green Energy Sector

Our trade associate partner, Scottish Renewables, has been tracking the growth of Scotland’s green energy sector. The country is focusing primarily on enhancing its renewable energy capacity. It’s increased by 10.5% since June 2021, hitting 13.3 GW in June 2022. This increase is largely due to new wind farms being made operational.

The positive news keeps coming. There’s an additional 16 GW of renewable energy capacity in the pipeline to join the grid. Over 50% of this capacity comes from onshore wind projects.

Scotland has been seeing increasing growth since 2009 with the average annual capacity increasing by over 700MW from the start of this period. However, this average dropped in 2021 to only a 438MW increase from 2020. This drop is largely due to a knock-on effect of the pandemic.

Onshore wind is at the heart of the industry’s success. It currently accounts for almost 70% of the industry’s capacity. Other major renewable sources in Scotland include hydro, solar panels, and offshore wind.

This final renewable energy type has grown in capacity by 50% within recent months – jumping from just under 100MW to 1,896 MW. Cumulatively wind-generated energy generated over 70% of all renewable electricity output in Scotland.

An unlikely source of energy for Scotland has been hydropower, contributing almost 20% of the country’s renewable electricity output. There are also growth strategies in place for smaller technologies, such as marine energy and biomass.

It’s clear from Scottish Renewables 2020 data that renewables are Scotland’s single largest contributor to electricity generation.

The Future of Scotland’s Green Sector

Where does Scotland’s green sector go next? Wind power remains one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy and provides a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to develop its green credentials. Developing a strong transition plan could turn Scotland into the UK’s first “net zero nation”.

Scotland is a renewable energy powerhouse that is utilising waves, winds, tides, and its longer daylight hours to maximise its energy capacity. The last decade has seen Scotland more than triple its renewable electricity output with renewable electricity generation making up the majority of the nation’s gross electricity consumption.

What do we have to look forward to from Scotland? The nation has significant projects in the pipeline that are estimated to be worth an additional 16GW. In the short term, Scotland’s capacity is being boosted by its onshore wind development while an additional 3.86GW of offshore wind capacity is also in the pipeline.

At Green Switch Capital, we’re working across the UK to create a sustainable, self-sufficient energy market powered by renewables to enable us to achieve net zero by 2050. Find out how you can get involved with our land repurposing scheme by contacting our team today.