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National Indicator: Renewable Electricity

This national indicator is currently being reported on the new national performance website and can be found here:


up Increase renewable electricity production

Indicator Measure
The amount of electricity generated in Scotland by renewables as a percentage of Scottish gross electricity consumption

Current Status

Over the decade there has been a general increase in the amount of electricity generated in Scotland by renewable sources. In 2017, renewable electricity generation was equivalent to 69.0% of gross electricity consumption, an increase of 15.0 percentage points compared with 54.0% in 2016. This is over four times the level at the end of 2006.

Installed capacity in Scotland has continued to increase year on year since 2003 and, with the exceptions of 2010 and 2016, renewable electricity generation has also been on an upwards trend.  The lower level of renewable electricity generation experienced in these two years was a result of a fall in hydro generation due to much lower rainfall that year.

Chart 1

Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 28 June 2018

Increase renewable electricity production

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

Renewable electricity, alongside other forms of renewable energy such as heat and biofuels for transport, has a key role to play in helping tackle climate change. It also offers opportunities for economic benefit. Scotland has a huge potential renewable resource - enough to meet our current peak demand for electricity several times over and allow Scotland to continue to be a net exporter of electricity.

The shift towards a diverse range of renewable technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, biomass and wave and tidal power alongside our existing hydro capacity can secure significant investment in Scotland, provide export opportunities, and create jobs in the manufacture and installation of the generators and the associated infrastructure/supply chain. Households and community renewable projects can also engage people in sustainable development, empowering them to help meet their energy needs sustainably.

What will influence this National Indicator?

Electricity generation in Scotland takes place within a privatised (albeit strongly regulated) market. Commercial generators will respond to a range of market, legislative (see next section) and regulatory signals in proposing new capacity, taking into account additional factors such as the availability and costs of grid connection and the global market price of electricity. Output on an annual basis will reflect the rate of new capacity build and will also be affected by elements such as wind speeds and rainfall.

What is the Government's role?

Strategy - Our 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland was developed in partnership with the renewables industry, and sets out the collective actions required to maximise the economic benefits of Scotland's renewables resource, and achieve our targets, which include meeting the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020.

Legislation - The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) creates a market mechanism which rewards investment in new renewable generating capacity and the Scottish Marine Bill will establish a system of marine planning giving industry the certainty they need for long-term investment in renewables.

Planning and Consents - Under Section 36 of the Energy Act 1989 Scottish Ministers are responsible for determining renewable energy applications for projects of 50MW and above.

Funding - The Scottish Government has provided significant levels of funding for emerging renewable technologies, and continues to support the sector through a range of initiatives including the £18m Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, the £10m Saltire Prize for marine energy, the £35m POWERS fund to support production of full-scale prototypes of next generation offshore wind turbines, the £70m National Renewables Infrastructure Fund, and loans for community renewables through our CARES scheme.

Research and development - including investment in the unique test and demonstration facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney.

How is Scotland performing?

In 2016, the amount of electricity generated in Scotland by renewable sources was equivalent to 54.0% of gross electricity consumption in Scotland. This is a decrease of 5.5 percentage points compared with 59.5% in 2015 and is the first reduction since 2010.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1.5 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.5 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Energy Companies

Highlands and Island Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise

Related Strategic Objectives

Wealthier and Fairer


View National Indicator Data

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Title:Increase renewable electricity production
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