Is Scotland Winning the UK Renewables Race?

The go ahead was given recently for the third largest off shore wind farm in Scotland, large enough to power some 1 million homes. Meanwhile, the Scottish Herald newspaper reported last December that 40% of the country’s electricity is now coming from renewable sources.

With the vote for Scottish independence looming there has also been some political back stabbing. A London based energy minister boldly stated that Scotland would lose out in the energy stakes if it separated from the rest of the UK. A Scottish minister even more boldly countered that the lights would go out in London if it wasn’t for Scotland’s commitment to renewables.

There is no doubt that the country is at the forefront of developing and using renewable sources of energy and the statistics back it up. Some 29.8% of electricity in 2012 was produced from renewables north of the border with the comparable figures at 8.2% in England and 8.7% in Wales. According to Scottish minister Fergus Ewing, the industry is going from strength to strength and on target to produce over half of electricity from renewables by 2015.

Glasgow is the Eco-Friendly City

With the Commonwealth Games set to get underway in this Scottish city, there have been some moves to highlight new green credentials. It is replacing its 10,000 sodium street lights with LEDs, reducing the city’s carbon footprint and drastically lowering the council’s electricity bill. There are also innovative plans to make Glasgow the nation’s first solar city. Already areas of waste ground are being identified as possible sites for solar farms that could power homes and businesses.

It is estimated that 1 hectare of solar panels could power over 150 homes and Glasgow Council has teamed up with Strathclyde University to see how they can realise their £24 million ‘Future City’ project that will see a massive reduction in the carbon footprint, more renewable energy projects and greater access to clean, affordable electricity.

Scotland Has More Than Half the UK’s Wind Turbines

Over 2,315 wind turbines have been constructed in Scotland compared to the UK total of 4,350 which has led some critics, particularly south of the border to suggest that the Scottish Government’s energy policy is out of control. There are many who feel that the landscape is being swamped by wind farms and pressure is being put on councils to allow for more.

A recent poll amongst walkers and climbers suggested that almost two-thirds thought that the construction of so many wind farms was making the countryside look unattractive. Other detractors have pointed to the fact that Scotland only uses 10% of the electricity but seems to have 50% of the wind turbines.

For others, it is important to move the country away from reliance on fossil fuels and the nuclear energy agenda and investment in sustainable sources is set to continue well into the next decade.

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