New figures published today for the first three quarters of 2011 show Scotland's renewable energy output was on track for the best year ever.
The figures, which were released this morning by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, point to 2011 being a record year for renewable generation in Scotland, with the first three quarters of 2011 already delivering 94 per cent of the previous year's totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year.
If the trend continues over the fourth quarter, 2011 will be a record year for renewable electricity in Scotland.
The statistics also demonstrate that there is enough generation capacity in Scotland to meet our interim target of 31 per cent of electricity demand met from renewables in 2011. This is important progress towards the Government's 2020 target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity needs met from renewable energy, as well as more from other sources.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"2011 has been an exceptional year for renewable energy in Scotland. These figures show that it is on course to be truly the best year yet.
"We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables and more from other sources by 2020, with enough renewable energy capacity installed to more than meet our interim target of 31 per cent.
"In the first three quarters of the year alone, renewables have already delivered 94 per cent of the previous year's totals, and 83 per cent of the previous record year.
"This year projects were switched on representing 750 million pounds of investment in renewables, and a staggering 46 billion pounds of investment is in the pipeline.
"But most importantly we have taken real steps to ensure that communities all over Scotland will benefit from the renewable energy generated in their area, with a community benefit register which will help empower communities, as well as loans projects to help them develop renewable energy projects of their own."
The 2011 figures were published alongside figures for the whole of 2010, which show renewable installed capacity in Scotland reached a record high of 4.3 gigawatts (GW) over the year, and that Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity in 2010, exporting 21 per cent of electricity generated.
As a result of the driest year since 2003, hydro electric generation fell in Scotland by a third in 2010, which led to a fall in overall renewable output from a peak in 2009. Renewable sources delivered 24.1 per cent of total electricity demand in Scotland in 2010, down from 27.4 in 2009. However, this drop has been more than made up for in 2011.
The figures also show that final energy consumption fell by 7.4 per cent compared to 2008 and 9.6 per cent against the 2005-7 baseline in 2009. Although this is in part due to the temporary impact of the global recession on energy demand, the reduction indicates that Scotland is on track to meet the 2020 final energy reduction target of 12 per cent.
Alongside the figures, the Scottish Government published a paper with an overview of key facts and trends emerging from the new statistics.