Scotland aims for 50% renewable power by 2015

Ambitious plans will create thousands of additional jobs

Scotland aims to meet half of its electricity needs with renewable technologies within the next two years.

The announcement was made by first minister Alex Salmond at the RenewableUK conference in Glasgow last year. The plans will play a key part in meeting Scotland’s target of cutting electricity industry emissions by 80% by 2030, as announced this January.

In 2011 the country exceeded its end-of-year renewables target by 4%, reaching a total of 35% generating capacity. The new target was originally set for 2020, but continued progress and £2.3bn investment in the sector in 2012 led to plans being brought forward.

“I believe creating more clean energy is essential for Scotland and this target provides three benefits in particular: energy security, environmental sustainability and employment opportunities,” said the first minister.

Currently 11,000 people are employed in Scottish renewable energy and it is estimated that under the new target, offshore wind alone could create up to 17,000 additional jobs by 2020.

The majority of extra capacity is expected in the form of offshore wind, wave and tidal power.