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Scotland’s renewable energy targets: from policy to practice

Scotland’s renewable energy targets: from policy to practice

A trip to Scotland easily reveals that Scotland has several reasons to be optimistic about its renewable energy future. With excellent conditions for wind, wave and tidal energy generation, Scotland is setting the pace for renewable energy production in Europe.


Optimistic about its renewable energy

The country has set its renewable energy target at 100%, more than any European country. Together with its 11% renewable heat and 10% renewable transport targets, Scotland’s overall share of renewable energy is, according to the Scottish government, expected to be at least 30% by the year 2020, exceeding by far the EU’s 2020 energy target of a 20% renewable sources energy share.


Electricity from wind and wave turbines

One of the sources of Scotland’s renewable energy is Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow. With its existing 140 and further 75 planned wind turbines, each generating roughly 2.3 MW of electricity, it is Europe’s largest wind farm and will be able to provide enough energy to power 300,000 homes, an equivalent of a large town. In addition, numerous smaller wind farms are scattered around the Scottish landscape and a number of homes use their own smaller wind turbines to generate their own electricity and feed it into the national grid when possible.

One should note, however, that there may still be a long way from policy to actual renewable energy practice. Orkney Islands, for example, feature several test sites for wave and tidal turbines, which largely still await their commercial deployment on a wider scale. Near Glasgow, Doosan Babcock, an engineering firm, features one of the world’s largest carbon capture research sites. Their products, however, still need to find their way to the coal power plants of Scotland and Europe, whereas due to low prices of carbon emissions sufficient incentives are still lacking.


Whitelee wind farm
Whitelee wind farm
wave turbine Orkney Islands
Wave turbine at Orkney Islands


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