Investment in Scottish renewables has reached a staggering £2.8 billion since the beginning of 2009 according to figures release by Scottish Renewables. The newly-published statistics show that investment in Scottish renewables has bucked the global economic downturn, thanks in major part to investment in wind technology.
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “During the downturn our industry has delivered some £2.8 billion of much needed capital investment in our economy. This has helped to grow the supply chain, secure the future of many companies and support more than 11,000 jobs.
“At a time of sluggish growth, the renewable electricity sector is expanding by more than 10 per cent a year, and now generates the equivalent of 35 per cent of annual demand.”
Jerry Hamilton, Renewable Energy Director at Rexel praised Scotland’s foresight, saying: “It’s very exciting to see how ahead of the game Scotland has been in terms of the energy crisis. The country realised very early on that there is an impending energy resource problem that will soon hit the UK and has invested heavily in a renewable alternative. 35 percent of the electricity generated in Scotland last year came from renewable sources, according to figures published by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. By 2020 the country plans on generating the equivalent of 100 percent of its energy from renewables.”
Investment in solar PV was kick-started from nothing at the end of 2008 to around £206 million by April 2012. The explosion of PV was driven by the introduction of the feed-in tariff scheme, which has successfully seen around 75MW of solar capacity added to the Country’s energy infrastructure.
Hamilton added: “Through our business we have seen huge growth in solar installations in Scotland. Despite the lower light conditions experienced in the country, if high quality products are fitted solar panels can still provide a good return on investment, as well as protect from the expected energy increases. As the UK becomes more reliant on energy resources from other countries, Scotland will be reaping the cost benefits of investment in solar and other renewable energies.”
However, it was investment in wind technology that dominated the Scottish renewable revolution. The country has seen over 1GW of onshore wind installations come online since 2009, as well as 190MW of offshore wind capacity.
Stuart concluded: “It’s not surprising to see onshore wind, the most cost-effective renewable technology that can be built at scale, is the source of most of this investment. It is mature sectors such as the wind industry that will help fund emerging sources of renewable electricity and under-write investment in grid connections that will benefit sectors such as wave and tidal.
“These figures show the importance of the sector to our economy. With a continued commitment to renewables through Electricity Market Reform and investment in the grid, we can keep contributing meaningfully, securing jobs, growing the economy, and ensuring a secure energy supply that also helps us tackle climate change.”