Scotland is at the beginning of an exciting time, facing the sorts of challenges not seen since oil was first discovered in the forbidding waters of the North Sea off Aberdeen. The prize is energy this time as well – clean, green energy in vast quantities that could make Scotland the renewables powerhouse of Europe. Before we get there though there are huge challenges to be faced – technical, environmental and social. This site exists to chronicle the progress of this vast endeavour without fear or favour, recording the triumphs and the failures as they occur.
The production of renewable energy in Scotland is an issue that has come to the fore in technical, economic, and political terms during the opening years of the 21st century. The natural resource base for renewables is extraordinary by European and even global standards. In addition to an existing installed capacity of 1.3 GW of hydro-electric schemes, Scotland has an estimated potential of 36.5 GW of wind and 7.5 GW of tidal power, 25% of the estimated total capacity for the EU, and up to 14 GW of wave power potential, 10% of EU capacity. Scotland’s renewable electricity generating capacity may be 60 GW or more, perhaps ten times greater than the existing capacity from all Scottish fuel sources of 10.3 GW.
Much of this potential remains untapped, but continuing improvements in engineering are enabling more of the renewable resources to be utilised. The ‘climate emergency’ declared in 2021 has driven the subject high up the political agenda and Scotland currently has the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world. At the moment the finances of many projects are either speculative or dependent on subsidies, but as the impact and scale grows these new industries should become self-financing.