On Thursday 23 February, The Scottish Government published Energy In Scotland 2017 which includes their 2015 figures for electricity generation – some interesting statistics.

You would be hard pushed to criticise the increase in generation by renewables and the move away from reliance on fossil fuels. Setting aside the sensitivities around aspects of the infrastructure for wind, hydro or solar schemes, the move to green energy is surely to be welcomed by most.

Electricity Generation Mix

2012 2013 2014 2015
Renewables 29.90% 32% 38% 42%
Nuclear 34.40% 35% 33.30% 35%
Coal 24.90% 20% 20.60% 17%
Gas 8.00% 10% 5.40% 4%
Oil 1.50% 1% 1.60% 2%

But in Scotland it creates another issue – what replaces the back up supply?

Traditionally this has been the coal fired power stations but Cockenzie and Longannet have now closed and Peterhead the only gas fired power station is now under review.

Nuclear electricity continues to average 30-35% of the overall generation but the way in which nuclear supply works means that unlike some other forms of energy generation it is not suited to meeting the high demand requirements that lead to a back up supply being brought on line. Looking ahead both Scottish nuclear power stations are due to close by 2030.

How will Scotland ensure we keep the lights on?