Scotland has reached and surpassed its target of generating 500 MW of locally and community owned renewable energy five years early.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, who revealed that Scotland has already installed an estimated 508 MW of community and locally owned renewable energy capacity, well in advance of its original target of 2020.
“Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their own local resources,” said Mr Ewing. “By creating a system that focuses on local energy, we can help to tackle some of our most pressing issues – from security of supply, to increasing energy costs – and stimulate local economic renewal.
“I am delighted we have met this target early which creates a huge opportunity to increase our ambition and to keep Scotland in the lead. We will be considering the scope to review our target alongside other energy policy development over the coming months.”
News of the announcement was also heralded by Scottish Renewables, the country’s leading renewable energy trade organisation.
“Reaching the target so early shows how well developers and communities can work together to build renewable energy projects, but we need to keep this momentum going,” said Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “We would urge the Scottish Government to look at how to continue to keep support in place for community renewables over the long term to create some certainty for projects that are suffering because of severe cuts at a UK Government level.”
Scotland has repeatedly blown renewable energy records and expectations out of the water, from a long string of wind energy records that generated well in advance of Scottish household electrical needs during the end of 2014, to the most recent news that Scotland’s renewable energy displaced a record 12.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions during 2014 — a 119% increase on 2010 levels.
And of course, one of the reasons that Scotland’s accomplishments are so impressive is the overall renewable energy political uncertainty abounding in the UK caused by the current government
“There are still challenges we need to overcome – community energy generally has higher capital costs, longer lead in times and frequent delays in connecting to the grid, while the UK Government is intent on slashing support for small scale renewables,” added Fergus Ewing.
Image Credit: Wind alarm Scotland via Wikimedia Commons
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