Scotland’s Renewable Energy Sector in Numbers

Scottish Renewables has compiled the key statistics on the development of Scotland’s renewable electricity sector from a variety of government and industry sources in order to track the industry’s growing contribution to our energy needs, our economy and our environment.

These statistics are updated on a continuous basis as new data becomes available. While this report only relates to electricity production, we are working on a set of similar statistics for renewable heat in Scotland.  

This page contains statistics relating to the following areas:


Scotland’s renewable electricity capacity has shown steady growth over the last few years with the average annual capacity increase over 660MW since the end of 2007.

Chart 1: Total Installed Capacity of Renewable Electricity in Scotland 2007-2013

Source: Historic Regional Statistics (DECC) and DECC Energy Trends

Chart 2 sets out the current mix of renewable electricity generation capacity in Scotland.  With the total now almost 6.8GW, the sector has more than doubled in size since the end of 2007.  Onshore wind is the biggest single technology, accounting for over 68 per cent of installed capacity, while hydro and biomass are Scotland’s other major sources of renewable power.

Chart 2: Current Installed Capacity of Renewable Electricity (End Q1 2014)

Source: DECC Energy Trends

There is significant additional capacity in development across Scotland, with projects either in planning or already consented total over 13GW.  Again, capacity increases in the short term will come from onshore wind, with almost 4GW of capacity already consented.  In the longer term, over the next decade, we are likely to see major increases in offshore wind, with almost 2GW already consented and 2.5GW in planning. There is also 660MW of biomass plants at various stages of development and 1.9GW of potential wave and tidal projects agreed with The Crown Estate that are yet to formally enter the planning system. 

Chart 3: Pre-operational Capacity of Renewables Projects


Source: Scottish Government - Renewable Planning Statistics - Summary Tables

Back to top



The growing capacity of renewables has translated into a significant increase in renewable electricity output, which has more than doubled from 8,215GWh in 2007 to 17,047 GWh in 2013.

Chart 4 shows that renewable electricity generation is now equivalent to approximately 46.6 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. 2013's consumption figure is not yet available so this is based on comparing 2013's generation figure with 2012's consuption figure. The Scottish Government’s 2011 target of 31 per cent was surpassed with a total of 36.2 per cent.


Chart 4: Electricity Consumption and % Renewables Output

Source: Scottish Government - Energy Statistics Summary

Chart 5 shows output from different sources in 2013. Onshore wind generated more than half of all renewable electricity output in Scotland.

Hydro power contributed almost one third of renewable electricity output, and while although other technologies such as biomass and marine energy currently make a smaller contribution, they have massive potential for growth in the future.

Chart 5: 2013 Renewable Electricity Output by Technology 

Source: DECC Energy Trends

Chart 6 shows that the proportion of the country’s power generation from renewables has also grown significantly in recent years – up from 17 per cent in 2007 to 30 per cent in 2012. 

Chart 6: Electricity Generation in Scotland by Fuel

Source: Energy Statistics Database (Scottish Government)

Back to top


Jobs and Investment

Scottish Renewables commissioned independent researchers to survey 541 companies in what is the most comprehensive study to date. The findings suggest 11,695 people are currently in full-time employment, an increase of 5% from the previous year. Onshore wind (39%), offshore wind (21%), marine and bioenergy (both 9%) are the most notable sources of employment.

The data was collected by ResearchResource and the report written by management consultants O’Herlihy & Co Ltd.


Chart 7: Renewables Jobs in Scotland 2013

Source: Employment in Renewable Energy in Scotland 2013

The sector continues to be an important driver of investment at a time of slow or negative economic growth. The value of investments in projects commissioned in each year can be estimated using the total additional capacity in each technology multiplied by estimates of capital cost per MW.

Using this methodology, the table shows projects with a total capital cost of £1166.2 million were commissioned in 2013.

Table: Total Renewables Investment in Scotland in 2013

Source: Capacity figures from DECC Energy Trends and capital cost estimates from Mott McDonald: Costs of Low Carbon Generation Technologies

Back to top


Renewable energy is one of the best tools we have to combat climate change.  As the proportion of renewable electricity in Scotland grows it gradually displaces the need to generate electricity from polluting fossil fuels, reducing total carbon emissions. The chart below sets out estimates of CO2 emissions displaced by renewables from 2008 to 2012.

In 2012 renewable electricity generation displaced approximately 10,377,382 tonnes of CO2, equal to around 20 per cent of Scotland’s carbon emissions in 2011, the most recent year for which carbon emission statistics are available.

Chart 8: Emissions Reduced by Scotland’s Renewables Electricity Output

Source: Hansard HC, 11 Sep 2013: Column 738W

Back to top