Energy Consumption by Sector

Scotland's energy consumption has slightly decreased in the last decade from almost 170,000GWh in 2010 to 155,000GWh in 2020.

Chart 1 shows that the energy consumption in Scotland is dominated by heat, followed by the transport and electricity sectors. In 2020, Scotland's energy consumption from the heat sector was 51.5%, while for the transport and electricity sectors was 24.5% and 21% respectively.

Chart 1: Energy Consumption in Scotland by Sector 2010-2020 (GWh)


Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub



Scotland’s renewable electricity capacity has shown steady growth between 2009 and 2020 with the average annual capacity increase over 700MW since the end of 2009. In 2022, renewable capacity installed was up 1,621MW up from 2021, the greatest increase in at least 15 years.

Chart 2: Total Installed Capacity of Renewable Electricity in Scotland 2009-2022


Source: Historic Regional Statistics and BEIS Energy Trends

Chart 3 sets out the current mix of renewable electricity generation capacity in Scotland. With the total now over 13GW, the sector is over four times bigger than it was at the end of 2008. Onshore wind is the biggest single technology, accounting for 65% of installed capacity, while offshore wind, hydro and solar photovoltaics are Scotland’s other major sources of renewable power. Installed offshore capacity has increased from 946MW at the end of 2021, to 2166MW at the end of 2022. An increase of 129% in one year.

Chart 3: Current Installed Capacity of Renewable Electricity (Q4 2022)


Source: BEIS Energy Trends


The growing capacity of renewables has translated into a significant increase in renewable electricity output, which has more than quadrupled from 8,003GWh in 2007 to 32,063GWh in 2020.

Chart 4 shows that renewable electricity generation is now equivalent to approximately 97% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption*.

*Gross electricity consumption refers to total electricity generation minus net exports 

​Chart 4: Electricity Consumption and % Renewables Output

Chart 4 Renewable target 2020

Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub

Chart 5 shows output from different sources in 2022. Wind generated 78% of all renewable electricity output in Scotland.

Hydro power contributed around 12% of renewable electricity output. While other technologies such as biomass and marine energy currently make a smaller contribution, they have massive potential for growth in the future.

Solar generation is up 127GWh in the last year, the biggest annual increase since the BEIS energy trend records started in 2009.

Chart 5: 2022 Renewable Electricity Output by Technology


Source: BEIS Energy Trends

Chart 6 shows that the proportion of the country’s power generation from renewables has also grown significantly in recent years. The 2020 figures show that renewables was once again the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland.

Chart 6: Electricity Generation in Scotland by Fuel 2010-2020


Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub

Planning Pipeline

There is significant additional capacity in development across Scotland, with projects either in planning or already consented totalling over 21GW. Capacity increases in the short term will come from onshore wind, with 5.58GW of capacity already consented and a further 6.1GW in planning. Offshore wind has 3.92GW already consented with an additional 4.2GW in planning. There is also 1.1GW of solar projects at various stages of development and 317MW of wave and tidal projects either in planning or already consented.

Chart 7: Pre-operational Capacity of Renewables Projects Q4 2022


Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub

Wind project planning pipeline

Renewable energy projects must receive planning consent before construction can begin. Visibility of projects’ place in the planning process can aid supply chain companies which are looking to invest or upskill, so Scottish Renewables has made refined data from the UK Government for onshore wind and offshore wind projects in Scotland available here.

Data is updated quarterly in line with the UK Government’s schedule.


Energy Related Greenhouse Emissions

Chart 8 shows the energy related greenhouse emissions in the last ten years. The 2019 figure indicates a sharp reduction in the emissions related to the electricity sector, showing values of 87% emissions reduction since 2010. By contrast, the heat sector, industry, and transport have shown slight reductions of around 18%, 12% and 3% respectively.

The dramatic emissions reduction from the electricity sector comes primarily from the speedy growth of renewables, which has been largely dominated by onshore wind technologies and large hydro installations. However, around 11% comes from small-scale installations of less than 5MW.  These projects are important as they are likely to contribute to the development of smart, decentralised, and local energy markets in Scotland.

Chart 8: Energy Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions (MtCO2e)

Chart 2 Energy related GHE emmissions 2019

Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub

Emmisions displaced by Scotland's Renewable Electricity Output

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 2009 to 2019.

Chart 9: Emissions Displaced by Scotland’s Renewables Electricity Output 2009-2019


Source: Scottish Energy Statistics Hub


Chart 10 sets out the current mix of renewable heat generation capacity in Scotland. 2,140GW of renewable heat capacity was operational in Scotland by the end of 2020, up from 2.06GW in 2019 and 0.44GW in 2010. Biomass accounts for 81 per cent of the total capacity followed by heat pumps which account for 13 per cent of the total.

Chart 10: Renewable Heat Capacity by Technology in Scotland 2020

2020 renewable heat capacity by technology

Source: Energy Saving Trust – Renewable Heat in Scotland 2020

Chart 11 shows renewable heat output by technology in 2020. In total, 5,008GWh of heat was produced from renewable sources; total renewable heat output has increased by 2 per cent from 2019.

Chart 11: Renewable Heat Output by Technology in Scotland 2020

2020 Renewable heat output by technology

Source: Energy Saving Trust – Renewable Heat in Scotland 2020 

Progress towards Scotland’s 2020 renewable heat target is calculated by measuring renewable heat output as a percentage of total annual non-electrical heat demand. Renewable heat generation represented 6.4 per cent of Scotland’s non-electrical heat demand in 2020. As illustrated by Chart 12, the target of reaching 11 per cent by 2020 has therefore been missed.

Chart 12: Progress Towards the 2020 Heat Target

2020 progress towards renewable heat target

Source: Energy Saving Trust – Renewable Heat in Scotland 2020


Achieving our net-zero target will require petrol and diesel cars to be phased out: current rules state all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned from sale from 2030.  That means the network infrastructure to achieve this ambition must be developed – along with the clean electricity needed to provide those vehicles with power. Renewables will play an important role in supplying the increased electricity demand from electric vehicles.

Chart 13 shows the number of electric vehicle (EV) charging points on the ChargePlace Scotland Network by year. In 2020, Scotland had 1,592 public EV charge points, which is up 890 charging points from 2017.

Chart 13: Electric Vehicle Charging Points on the ChargePlace Scotland Network.

Transport (2020)V2

Source: Transport Scotland: Scottish Transport Statistics, Chapter 13    



The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes an annual survey on the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy, but in the past few years this survey has included only direct activity. Scottish Renewables believes that the economic impact of renewables goes beyond direct activity so we’ve asked the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute to conduct its own study, based on ONS figures, to estimate indirect and induced activity.

Chart 14 shows that in 2020 there were 27,620 full time equivalent (FTE) employees in renewable energy in Scotland. This number includes direct, indirect and induced jobs.

Chart 14: Renewables Employment in Scotland, 2020.


Source: Fraser of Allander Institute: The Economic Impact of Scotland's Renewable Energy Sector.

Chart 15 illustrates how the employment supported by the renewable energy industry was spread across different sectors of Scotland’s economy in 2020. We can see that electricity and gas and the construction sector support the largest direct employment, while other sectors such as education, wholesale and retail services support the largest induced employment.

Chart 15: FTE employment supported by renewables in each industry in Scotland, 2020.


Source: Fraser of Allander Institute: The Economic Impact of Scotland's Renewable Energy Sector.

Economic contribution to national output

The chart below shows the outputs created by each renewable energy technology. We can see that the technology with the largest output is onshore wind, followed by hydropower and offshore wind.

Chart 16: Renewables Output in Scotland in 2020.

Oct22_outputsSource: Fraser of Allander Institute: The Economic Impact of Scotland's Renewable Energy Sector.