The Scottish National Party (SNP) has set itself a new target of generating 50% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

The move, brokered by First Minister Alex Salmond, is intended to help Scotland meet its previous target of generating the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020.

Mike MacKenzie, a member of the SNP who sits on the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, welcomed the new target. “Scotland has had ambitious targets for renewable electricity for some time, but the fantastic progress that has been made towards them has allowed us to set even more challenging ones,” he said.

“Scotland will now generate the equivalent of half of our electricity demand from renewable sources by 2015, putting us well on our way to an equivalent of 100% by 2020. We are already generating the equivalent of 35% of the electricity we consume and I am confident that the coming years will see more rapid progress.

“The renewables sector is bringing thousands of jobs and many millions of pounds of investment to Scotland. Harnessing the enormous renewable energy potential that exists in Scotland is an essential part of securing economic recovery and the fantastic headway we are making is hugely positive.”

Last year, renewables accounted for 35% of Scotland’s electricity demand following an 80% surge in renewable installations since 2007. Offshore wind will continue to play a key role in achieving these ambitions, yet solar, tidal and other renewable technologies will also be utilised. Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource and a tenth of its potential wave capacity.