A fair way down a recent Scottish Government press release about a new loan scheme for community renewable projects was a reference to some research we’ve been doing north of the border that we’re rather proud of – so we’re going to expand a little here.

With a target of 500 MW of community and locally-owned renewable energy capacity in place by 2020 very much in mind, the Scottish Government asked us a little while back to produce a database of all community and locally owned renewable energy installations in Scotland up to June 2011, and to produce a short report of the findings.

As ever, we love getting stuck into the geeky stuff that underpins all renewable efforts by individuals, governments and communities, and this was certainly a way of helping all three out. But what exactly did we find out there? Well…

  • At the end of June 2011, an estimated minimum of 147MW of community and locally owned renewable energy capacity was operational in Scotland, spread over a total of over 3,400 individual renewable energy installations.
  • 64MW of this capacity was electrical and 84MW was heat.
  • A further 666MW of community or locally owned renewable energy capacity is estimated to be in different stages of development
  • Wind turbines are the dominant technology, with 57MW, followed by biomass (wood) with 55MW. These two technologies between them account for over 75% of the total operational capacity.
  • The largest proportion of operational capacity is on Scottish farms and estates (54MW, or 36%). Community groups own 13% of total operational capacity (19MW)

The good news is that this means it appears that Scotland is on-track to meet its target. But it’s no time to rest up; all that renewable energy capacity still in development needs to be converted from just that to fully up and running.

Of that ‘not yet operational’ bunch of projects, 25MW is under construction, 96MW has been granted planning permission but construction has not yet started, 334MW is in the planning system waiting for a planning decision to be made, and a further 200MW is under consideration. All of this activity needs to be closely monitored so our theory becomes renewable reality.

You can check out the full report at our Energy Saving Trust Scotland Green Communities home page.