Scotland meets community energy target five years early

More than 500MW of electricity is now being generated by community energy projects, the Scottish Energy Minister has announced.

Speak ahead of the Holyrood Magazine Community Energy Conference in Perth, Fergus Ewing said an estimated 508 megawatts (MW) of community and locally owned capacity is now operational in Scotland.

The Scottish Government had originally set a target of 500MW by 2020. 

And Holyrood recently published its first ever Community Energy Policy Statement, which outlines the economic and social benefits of shared energy ownership and promotes a new approach to energy development in Scotland.

“Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their own local resources,” said Mr Ewing.

“By creating a system that focuses on local energy, we can help to tackle some of our most pressing issues – from security of supply, to increasing energy costs - and stimulate local economic renewal.

“I am delighted we have met this target early which creates a huge opportunity to increase our ambition and to keep Scotland in the lead. We will be considering the scope to review our target alongside other energy policy development over the coming months.

“There are still challenges we need to overcome - community energy generally has higher capital costs, longer lead in times and frequent delays in connecting to the grid, while the UK Government is intent on slashing support for small scale renewables,” he added.

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues