Scotland looks set for its highest ever renewables output, and could produce almost a third of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2011.

The latest Energy Statistics (PDF) from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that, over the first three quarters of 2011, Scotland delivered 94 per cent of last year’s totals and 83 per cent of the previous record year.

The Scottish government said that, if the trend continues over the fourth quarter, 2011 will be a record year for renewable electricity in Scotland.

It added that the country’s goal of 100 per cent green energy by 2020 is also on track, as the statistics reveal sufficient capacity in Scotland to meet its interim target of 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewables in 2011.

Installed capacity reached a record high of 4.3GW over the year, while Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity in 2010, exporting 21 per cent of electricity generated.

Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing said that £750m worth of renewables projects were switched on in 2011, while another £46bn worth are in the pipeline.

“2011 has been an exceptional year for renewable energy in Scotland,” he said in a statement. “These figures show that it is on course to be truly the best year yet.”

DECC’s figures also show that the amount of electricity from renewable sources in the UK’s overall energy mix increased by almost 12 per cent on the previous year to 7.45 terawatt hours (TWh). The contribution of coal and gas fell by around four and six per cent respectively to 19TWh and 38TWh, while nuclear shot up 21 per cent to around 16TWh.

Renewables’ share of electricity generation increased from just over eight per cent in the third quarter of 2010 to nine per cent a year later, while overall renewable electricity capacity stood at 10.2GW.

The amount of electricity from onshore wind fell 2.4 per cent to 1.9TWh, but growing offshore wind capacity sparked a 30.5 per cent increase and high rainfall saw hydro generation rise 41.3 per cent.

The figures come as the government gave its consent today for a 53MW biomass station in Yorkshire, the eighth GW and 15th power station approved this year, which marks a new record for capacity consented since the Electricity Act came into force in 1989.

Developer Dalkia’s plant at the former RAF airfield at Pollington will be fuelled by 360,000 tonnes of waste wood per year, set to be delivered to the site via the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal.

“It has been a priority for this administration to remove the backlog in planning applications [and] to demonstrate our commitment to economic growth,” said energy minister Charles Hendry. “A record number of decisions shows that we have delivered on this, helping ensure our long-term energy security and creating jobs.”


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