The Scottish government announced its gross electricity consumption from renewable sources was 98.6% in 2020, narrowly missing its 100% target. 

Scotland narrowly missed its target of reaching 100% of electricity consumption generated from renewable sources in 2020, a promising sign for the country’s path of achieving net zero emissions by 2045. 

The nation’s target of reaching 100% clean electricity consumption in 2020 was originally set in 2011, when renewable technologies generated just 37% of national demand at the time. But in 2020, Scotland managed to achieve 98.6% of gross electricity consumption generated from renewable sources, according to the Scottish government’s December energy statement.

“Scotland is leading the way internationally with our commitment to be net zero by 2045. This statement shows we are continuing to make good progress with the equivalent of 98.6% of gross electricity consumption being from renewable sources in 2020, which is up from 89.8% in 2019,” said Scotland’s Energy Secretary Michael Matheson. “Whilst we do have many challenges ahead of us if we are going to meet our ambitious targets, we have laid the groundwork in 2021 for Scotland to take important leaps forward towards net zero.”

In 2020, 61.8% of all electricity generated in Scotland came from clean energy sources – largely from wind and hydro power,  a 1.9TWh increase compared to 2019. The year also saw 88.1% of electricity generated from low carbon sources. However, the country failed to hit its target of 11% of clean non-electrical heat. 

You might also like: Renewables Had a Record Year of Growth But Must Double to Limit Global Warming

It is worth noting that a portion of Scotland’s electricity is sold overseas, where significant amounts of non-renewable electricity is still consumed nationally. Renewables only make up about a quarter of total Scottish energy consumption in 2020, which rose up to 25.4% from 24% in 2019, but the country aims to hit 50% by 2030. 

According to provisional governmental figures, electricity generated over the first nine months of 2021 was down 22.3% compared with the same period in 2020. Officials cite the drop to be linked to “continued mild weather over the year adversely affecting hydro and wind generation”. 

The new figures come just weeks after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon demolished the chimney at the last remaining coal-fired power plant in Scotland to mark the end of coal in the country and to symbolise its commitment to transition away from fossil fuels. The country also played host to the COP26 climate conference in November where nearly 200 countries agreed to “phase down” coal. 

Featured image by: Wikimedia Commons