Investment in Scottish Renewables Reaches £2.8 Billion
Scotland has once again defended its status as one of the world’s leading renewable energy markets, with new figures revealing that the Scottish green energy sector has attracted £2.8 billion of capital investment since the beginning of 2009, as reported by BusinessGreen on 13 August 2012.The results are particularly impressive considering the global economic downturn and the generally negative data surrounding the UK economy.
The figures, which are part of “Scotland’s Renewable Energy Sector in Numbers”, a new series of statistics published by the industry group Scottish Renewables, cover the period from the start of 2009 to April 2012. “These figures show Scotland’s renewables industry is very much bucking the economic trend. During the downturn our industry has delivered some £2.8bn of much needed capital investment in our economy”, said Scottish Renewables’ chief executive Niall Stuart in a press release.
While the figures reveal a surge of investment across a wide range of different technologies, such as onshore and offshore wind farms, marine energy arrays, solar panels, hydro-electric systems and biofuel and biomass generators, as may be expected, it is onshore wind installations that dominate the Scottish green energy revolution. As noted in the BusinessGreen article, investment in onshore wind farms in Scotland hit £1.1 billion, with 1GW of onshore wind installations coming online between the end of 2008 and the end of 2010.
!m(/uploads/story/266/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Mr Stuart notes that it is hardly surprising that onshore wind was the main source of the 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,” he points out.
Offshore wind power saw investment totalling £589 million, leading to 190MW of new capacity. Despite Scotland not exactly being renowned for its sunny climate, the solar energy sector also experienced growth with the Solar Power Portal reporting that investment in solar photovoltaics was kick-started from virtually nothing at the end of 2008 to around £206 million by April 2012 and 75.04MW of new energy capacity. “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,” notes Jerry Hamilton, Renewable Energy Director at Rexel Renewable Energy, as quoted by the Solar Power Portal. Biofuel technologies in turn attracted more than £200 million of investment, whereas hydro-power saw more than £100 million.
As noted on the website of Scottish Renewables, the green energy sector in Scotland is a rather important driver of investment, given the slow or even negative economic growth. “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,” notes Mr Stuart.
Scotland has the ambitious target to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. Scottish Renewables expects that capacity increases in the short-term will come from onshore wind, whereas the next decade will witness significant increases in offshore wind with over 2GW already in the scoping and planning phase and a further 7GW of identified potential yet to enter the scoping stage.