Scotland narrowly missed its target of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020, despite improved revised figures.
In early 2021, it was estimated that Scotland had generated an impressive 97.4% of its electricity from renewable sources, although that figure would prove to be too pessimistic. Just before New Year 2022, official figures confirmed that gross consumption from renewables – minus net exports – was actually 98.6%.
Despite missing its goal of 100% renewable generation, Scotland still is one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to clean power. Very few countries have achieved 100% renewable electricity generation, with that list including the likes of Iceland, Paraguay and Albania, so Scotland should certainly be proud of getting so close.
However, despite nearly achieving its goal of 100% renewable electricity generation in 2020, it’s unlikely to repeat its success in 2021. Over the first nine months of 2021, provisional figures show that renewable energy generation was down 22.3% compared with the same period in 2020. This was due to milder weather which impacted both hydro and wind generation. Pair that with a lockdown-induced slowdown in demand in 2020, and it’s unlikely that 2021 will get anywhere near close – although we shall find out for sure later this year.
Thankfully, Scotland is not going to rest on its laurels and be happy with getting close in 2020. In fact, the country’s Energy Secretary Michael Matheson has said that the country will “lead the way” in achieving its commitment to be net zero by 2045. That’s a whole five years earlier than the rest of the UK.
Of course, Scotland enjoys an abundance of wind turbines and typically a lot of windy weather to help achieve its goal of 100% renewable generation, while its demand is a lot lower than in the rest of the UK, so it should find it easier to achieve its target.