Green energy production has hit record levels after rising by almost 50% over a 12-month period.
The figures released by the Scottish Government showed that Scotland’s renewable electricity sector generated 4,590 gigawatt hours (GWh) in the first quarter of 2012, a 45.5% increase on the 1,435 GWh output at the same point in 2011.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing welcomed the new figures which also showed a 9.8% rise in renewable megawatt capacity over the last 12 months.
Mr Ewing said: "These figures show that renewable energy generation in Scotland is going from strength to strength. The increase of 45.5% in renewable output in quarter one 2012 compared to quarter one 2011 is particularly encouraging when you consider that 2011 saw the highest output from renewable energy to date.
"We are seeing great progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity needs from renewables by 2020. Scotland has astounding renewable energy potential, and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring every community in Scotland benefits from the opportunities of renewable energy.”
The statistics suggest that around 35% of Scotland’s electricity is now at 35%, four per cent above the target for 2011.
The minister added: "Projects representing £750m of investment were switched on in 2011, with an investment pipeline of £46bn. Industry figures show 11,000 people are employed in renewables in Scotland already, a figure which is set to grow. And since the turn of the year, we have seen Gamesa invest in Leith creating around 800 new jobs, the Green Investment Bank being headquartered in Edinburgh and Samsung Heavy Industries announcing it will base its £100m European offshore wind project in Methil, creating up to 500 jobs. Renewable energy is already delivering jobs, investment and opportunities for the people of Scotland.
"Scotland is a genuine world leader in green energy and our targets reflect the scale of our natural resources, the strength of our energy capabilities and the value we place on creating new, sustainable industries."
The Scottish Government's target is to meet the equivalent of 100% of gross annual electricity demand from renewables by 2020.
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