Environmental groups have urged the Government to expand on the success of a significant rise in green energy across the UK, amidst vital UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show 1,757.1 million megawatts per hour (around 1,757 gigawatts) of renewable electricity were generated in Aberdeenshire in 2020.
This was three per cent more energy than the 1,713 GWh produced the year before, and more than double the amount produced in 2014 – the earliest year of data available.
Across the UK, 134,600 GWh of renewable energy was generated in 2020 – a 13 per cent rise on the year before. Renewables outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year, representing 43 per cent of total generation, compared to 37 per cent in 2019.
Friends of the Earth said this is good for both the planet and the economy, as renewables are now the cheapest power source.
However, Mike Childs, head of policy at the environmental campaign group, warned: “Far too much of our energy still comes from climate-wrecking coal, gas and oil, and this has to change. The Government must rapidly accelerate our use of renewables.”
Of the nine different types of energy in the figures, offshore wind grew at the fastest pace and is now responsible for a greater share of energy (30 per cent) than any other producer, followed by onshore wind (26 per cent) and biomass and waste (24 per cent).
Climate think tank Ember said huge falls in costs means the growth in offshore wind power is set to go "parabolic" in the coming months.
But Phil MacDonald, chief operating officer at the organisation, added: "The Government is still missing the opportunity of cheap onshore wind, and not doing enough to explore earlier-stage technologies like geothermal and tidal. To ensure a speedy phase-out of expensive imported fossil gas, there needs to be a stronger commitment to support innovative energy storage."
The biggest producer of energy in Aberdeenshire last year was onshore wind farms, which generated 1,205 GWh – 69 per cent of the total. This was followed by offshore wind farms (26 per cent), and solar power (two per cent).