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Scotland leads the UK in small-scale renewable energy with capacity nearly doubling in the last twelve months. That's what our new report, released today with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), shows.
The AEA Scottish Microgeneration Index details progress made across the country, and in each local authority area, one year on from the launch of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme, which was designed to encourage uptake of small scale renewable electricity generation.
The Index found Scotland to have a disproportionately high installed capacity (by population) with 20% of UK installed capacity. It also found that 75% of the UK's hydro capacity is in Scotland, in addition to 63% of the total wind capacity.
Presenting the report findings to a high-profile audience at the Empowering Scotland conference, brought together by the SCDI, COSLA, SLAED and Aberdeen City Council, Colin McNaught, Knowledge Leader - Energy, AEA said:
"We have been able to show the progress that has been made with small-scale renewable electricity generation since the introduction of the FIT. Since August, local authorities themselves have been able to take full advantage of the FIT and our findings offer invaluable insight for councils to consider and benchmark their local market's performance and policies to fully capitalise on this opportunity."
Aberdeenshire shows the highest installed capacity in the UK, while Dumfries & Galloway has the largest number of installations amongst Scottish councils. Some rural areas (Aberdeenshire - 5.6 MWe, Perth & Kinross - 3.84 MWe, Argyll & Bute - 1.75 MWe and Orkney Islands - 2.1 MWe) have significant hydro and wind power generation compared to the rest of the UK.
The market in the rest of the UK was also found to be growing rapidly, owing to the accessibility of small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, whilst wind and hydro systems that are dominant in Scotland are increasing more slowly.
The report suggests two routes to accelerate growth of the FIT market in Scotland:
- do more of what is already a success - wind and hydro at community and commercial scale
- do more of what is working in the rest of the UK - solar PV for homes
One way of making solar PV a greater success in Scotland would be to negotiate lower prices through volume purchases. Such initiatives, led by innovative local authorities, offer a number of benefits, including lower cost of installation from volume purchase and better financial returns on the FIT income. In addition, tenants benefit from lower energy costs. Collaborative working to increase volumes across several local authorities and housing associations could offer even greater scope for cost reduction.
Gareth Williams, Head of Policy, SCDI added:
"This report demonstrates the potential for growth in renewable energy generation in many parts of Scotland where the natural environment is suitable. We have also found that there is a great potential in the built environment, where local authorities in particular can capitalise on their assets to use these technologies to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint whilst helping to create green jobs."
For more information on SCDI and the Empowering Scotland conference, visit:http://www.scdi.org.uk/
Download a copy of the report here.
To explore the full AEA Microgeneration Index, covering the whole UK market, please click here.