Renewable energy is a priority, not just for Scotland, but for everyone, as we strive to find ever-greener and cleaner methods of powering the modern world.
Scotland’s most recent provisional Energy Trends data show that 2017 was a record year for renewable electricity generation with 68.1% of electricity demand met by renewable sources, up 14.1 percentage points in 2016.
These latest stats do an excellent job of emphasising our hard work in this area, but Scotland has a long history of using the abundant natural resources found on and off its shores. Scottish innovation in both science and technology means that Scotland is now helping lead the way for the rest of the world when it comes to renewable energy.
A perfect example of this can be found 25 km off the coast of Peterhead, in the north-east of Scotland. It’s here that the world’s first-ever floating wind farm, known as Hywind, was established. The blades of these five large offshore generators are being propelled by Scotland’s fierce North Sea wind. This farm alone generates enough renewable energy to power around 20,000 homes. This pioneering project was a culmination of 15 years of hard work with Norwegian firm, Statoil.
These towering monoliths of power boast massive rotating blades that reach 175 metres from end to end. The structures also plunge a staggering 78 metres below the surface of the cold North Sea towards the seabed where they are anchored in place. First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon opened the wind farm and issued a rallying cry that this was really just the beginning for such projects in Scotland.
"This pilot project underlines the potential of Scotland's huge offshore wind resource and positions Scotland at the forefront of the global race to develop the next generation of offshore wind technologies”.
You may not know this, but Scotland actually has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resources. This is potentially enough resource to generate more power than Scotland itself needs for its entire consumption of energy! Because of this, it’s hardly surprising that companies should seek us out for these projects, which are vital to our planet’s health and wellbeing.
Scotland’s ambitious hydro- electric programme actually dates as far back as the 1950s. It was then that Scotland became a world-leader, by using its rivers, lochs and waters to generate electricity. Amazingly, the infrastructure that was put in place back then still actually produces energy today!
Scotland continues to take a global lead in marine energy, and is home to both the world’s largest tidal stream project and the world’s most powerful floating tidal turbine. In addition. the world’s only accredited marine energy laboratory, the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), is situated on Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
The environment and weather conditions in Orkney make it ideal for assessing and further developing marine energy converters. The centre enables international collaboration which will help harness the power of the sea the world over.
The centre also gives developers a base to study and improve existing technology, creating even more energy efficient ways of working. Progress is something that Scotland is keen to push and we’ve outlined this commitment with an ambitious but achievable target for renewable energy.
We have a target to deliver the equivalent of 50% of total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. This is a pledge that will come as a breath of fresh air for those that care for the wellbeing and the future of the planet. It also emphasises Scotland’s continued dedication to finding better ways the power the world in a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.