There is a global climate emergency, and we take our commitment to this challenge very seriously. How serious? For starters, we have committed to reaching our net zero emissions target by 2045.
From on and offshore wind, wave and tidal power, clean hydro and green hydrogen, to heat batteries, and solar, Scotland is already bringing together the best minds in business, academia, and technology to power us into the future.
We are making sure the transition to net zero emissions is just and fair, where no community is left behind.
Scotland has set an ambitious target of meeting 100% of our electricity needs through renewable energy. We are already well on the way and are a world leader in the fast-growing green technology sector. Just last year, the equivalent of over 95% of Scotland's gross electricity consumption was generated from renewable sources.
Potential powers innovation
Scotland has long known the power and potential of renewable technologies. Since the 1900s we’ve been making use of hydroelectricity - Scotland has over 85% of the UK's total hydroelectric capacity. Rain and water are not in short supply in Scotland, and using them to generate clean, green hydropower makes economic and 'net zero' sense.
Scotland must take advantage of its natural benefits – particularly when it comes to our combination of high winds and abundant deep waters. These assets provide the opportunity for Scotland to lead on onshore and deep-water offshore wind technologies.
All at sea
Twenty-seven miles off the east coast of Angus sits the £3bn Seagreen project, Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm. A joint venture between Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables, and its partner TotalEnergies, once fully operational, the site’s giant turbines will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1.6m households.
Further north, in the Fall of Warness tidal races, just off Orkney, Orbital Marine's O2 tidal turbine is breaking records for green power generation. In its first year of operation, the turbine generated more electricity than the entire of Scotland's wave and tidal energy sector in the previous 12 years. They will also provide power to an onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen energy.
The hills are alive
Wind turbines are nothing new in Scotland. Indeed, you could say we invented them.
Back in 1887, Professor James Blyth, an engineering expert at Glasgow’s Anderson’s College – today’s Strathclyde University - set up several wind sales in his back garden to power the lights in his cottage.
Today, from the Highlands to the Scottish Borders, wind farms are a common site.
Whitelee Wind Farm, just south of Glasgow, is the largest onshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Its 215 turbines generate up to 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 350,000 homes.
Clean, green Hydrogen
The Whitelee facility is also at the forefront of the green Hydrogen revolution. In 2021 it received £10m in UK government funding to create and power what will be the UK’s largest electrolyser. The Hydrogen it produces will be stored and used to supply transport providers with zero-carbon fuel.
It is estimated that, once at full capacity, the state-of-the-art facility will be able to produce green hydrogen to power 225 buses travelling to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh every day.
Blue sky thinking
Despite Scotland’s temperate climate, solar power is also part of our net zero energy ambitions. Just because we might not experience hours of direct sunlight doesn’t mean today’s smart solar panels aren’t generating free green power.
Earlier this year, Glasgow Airport announced plans to create a 30-acre solar farm, which would provide enough green electricity to power both the airport and surrounding businesses.
Edinburgh Airport is following a similar path, with plans to develop an 11-acre solar farm next to its runway.
Come and join us
Having hosted last year’s UN Cop 26 Climate Summit, Scotland will be at the heart of this year’s Cop 27 event, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
If you want to be part of Scotland’s race to net zero, find out more at Scotland is taking action on climate change. We all have a part to play.