Scottish Renewables Forum

Scottish Renewables Forum

Scottish Renewables is a member organisation dedicated to strengthening business relationships and committed to securing the best possible environment for the growth of renewable energy in Scotland. Our shared ambition is to harness Scotland’s abundant natural resources to secure a future that will deliver on jobs, investment, energy security and climate change. We work with our members, leading the debate and presenting a clear and united voice to decision makers, government and media and we welcome you to join us to maximise our industry’s potential for a brighter future.

Company details

Floor 3, 49 Bath Street , Glasgow , G2 2DL United Kingdom

Locations Served

Business Type:
Service provider
Industry Type:
Renewable Energy
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)


We are dedicated to working closely with members from each sector to ensure that our work is driven by member priorities. This important interaction creates the building blocks for our conference programmes, member activities, research and communications.

Our member organisations are wide ranging across all technologies and supply chains and we have developed 14 focus areas to fully represent the industry:

  • Bioenergy
  • Community engagement
  • Economics & markets
  • Grid
  • Heat
  • Hydro
  • Marine
  • Micro
  • Offshore wind
  • Onshore wind
  • Planning
  • Skills
  • Supply chain
  • Transport

Onshore wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source since 2003. This technology is now established as a mature, clean source of energy, playing a vital role in energy production across Scotland.

By the end of 2009 there was just over 3.5GW of installed renewable technology capacity installed in Scotland with almost 2GW of this being onshore wind.  Electricity generated from renewable sources in the UK in 2009 represented 6.7% of total UK electricity generation, up from 5.6% in 2008.

The installed capacity of onshore wind farms is greater than any other renewable energy source in Scotland and with built capacity set to treble over the next few years the task of reaching Scotland’s target of 80 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 rests predominately on the shoulders of this sector.

The renewables industry prides itself on maintaining a responsible reputation; delivering crucial carbon cuts whilst minimising environmental impacts, with a typical 2.4MW turbine offsetting approximately 2700 tonnes of CO2 a year the role of this technology in our fight to prevent global climate change is clear.

While this sector has seen steady growth, it faces a multitude of tough challenges ahead if it is to continue delivering the bulk of Scotland’s renewable energy generation. As the areas of least constraint decrease, development needs to adapt to find the best way of achieving acceptable design in more sensitive environments.

Scottish Renewables, on behalf of our members, are working closely with the Scottish Government Renewables Policy team, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and other key decision makers and stakeholders to maximise onshore wind development and maintain and sustainable the onshore wind industry in Scotland.

The following points indicate our core objectives to realising this goal. Scottish Renewables is working with public and private sector stakeholders to promote:

  • Better regulation
  • Improved grid access
  • Stable financial incentives

Bioenergy is energy derived from biological/recently living organisms.

Unlike fossil fuels the combustion of biomass materials is deemed to be carbon neutral as the carbon released is equal to that absorbed by the plant during its growth. Bioenergy is classed as renewable as it only takes a short period of time to replace what is used as an energy resource. It can be utilised for the purpose of electricity, heat or transport fuels.

Typical examples of bioenergy processes are the combustion of wood for heat or electricity, the processing of plant oils to produce biofuels and the processing of biological wastes to produce methane rich biogas which is then utilised for the purpose of heat, electricity or transport fuel.

Bioenergy is critical to the future energy mix in Scotland as it is the only renewable energy source that can be fully user controlled in terms of meeting demand. It will therefore be fundamental in providing a base load to support other renewable generation.  

Scottish Renewables has worked to implement the Renewable Heat Incentive and we were able to have a strong influence in the development of the Zero Waste Plan for Scotland

Hydropower uses the flow of water from Scotland's rivers and lochs to drive turbines to generate electricity.

Hydropower is the original renewable energy source, with early schemes capturing water flow for mechanical energy, and later for generating electricity. The Power from the Glens campaign in the 1940s and 50s gave Scotland a reliable, large scale and green electricity supply.

Scotland currently has 1.4GW of hydropower, with room for growth, especially for small and medium schemes.  So called “micro-hydro” was identified as having huge potential in Scotland and has further benefitted from the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff, a financial incentive for installing small scale renewables projects.

Types of Scheme

Run-of-river schemes use the natural flow the river to generate electricity, the output is directly linked to the natural flow and volume of the water in the river.

Storage schemes use a weir or dam to collect water in a reservoir to allow generation when the river is running low. Some storage schemes can run for days without rain, others only a couple of hours. This is an important tool for the electricity to matching electricity supply to demand.

Pump storage schemes also include a reservoir but are not considered a renewable form of generation as they use electricity to pump water into an elevated reservoir during periods of low demand. This water can then be released during periods of peak consumption, acting like a big battery.

Scottish Renewables engage proactively with government, authorities, industry and the public to promote an environment that maximises responsible hydro development and operation in Scotland. We are working to tackle the cumulative impact of regulation while ensuring that the industry is well supported through appropriate market reform and incentives.

Marine renewables covers two disciplines - wave and tide – which can be further sub divided into tidal range and tidal stream. Scottish Renewables’ current work programme focuses on wave and tidal stream.

Approximately 10% of Europe’s wave power is off Scotland’s coasts, with a potential of around 15 GW [The Offshore Valuation, 2010]. This power is harnessed in a number of ways – oscillating water columns, wave attenuators, point absorbers and flaps.

Scotland also boasts about 25% of Europe’s tidal stream potential, approximately 18 GW [The Offshore Valuation, 2010]. The energy from tidal stream is collected by turbines. Current examples show seabed mounted horizontal axis turbines with a three-blade formation and open centre turbines, other designs use vertical axis, floating devices and oscillating hydrofoils.

There is a huge appetite for marine renewables off Scotland’s coasts. There are currently agreements for lease from The Crown Estate totalling 1.6 GW in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters’ strategic area. This involves 11 sites, 6 wave (600 MW) and 5 tidal stream (1000 MW).

There is a further Scottish Leasing Round that has opened up the rest of Scotland’s territorial waters for projects of up to 30MW aimed at companies who want to compete in the Scottish Government’s £10 million Saltire Prize.

There are barriers in relation to grid, supply chain, skills, finance and regulation that need to be overcome.

The Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) Marine Energy Group (MEG) Marine Road Map published at the end of 2009outlined a high scenario of 2 GW of installed capacity by 2020 which could result in 5,300 direct Scottish jobs and £2.4 billion of investment into Scotland.

Marine renewables are a growing industry which Scotland is leading. To support this new industry and maintain the global lead to ensure Scotland and the UK reaps the environmental and economic benefits of this industry requires financial and regulatory support.

Scottish Renewables aim is to represent and promote the interests of our membership by engaging  proactively with Government, industry groups, stakeholders and the public  to promote a permissive environment that the growth and deployment of the Scottish marine industry.

Offshore wind is relatively new to Scotland, but holds huge potential in terms of energy generation and the economic benefits presented by the supply chain.

The lion’s share of the UK’s offshore wind development has so far taken place in the shallower waters around the English and Welsh coasts, forming the bulk of the first and second rounds of The Crown Estate’s leasing process. The first examples of offshore wind developments in Scottish waters include Robin Rigg, the 180 MW project in the Solway Firth, and the offshore wind demonstrator at the Beatrice oilfield in the Moray Firth.  These two 5 MW turbines herald Scotland’s leadership in deepwater wind technology.

By 2010, around 10 GW of capacity has been earmarked for offshore wind development off Scotland’s shores, including 9 sites within 12 nautical miles of the coastline in Scottish Territorial Waters, and two large zones in the Forth and Moray firths under The Crown Estate’s Round 3. This level of development marks a huge increase in renewables capacity for Scotland, and presents massive economic and environmental opportunities over the next two decades. Scottish Renewables estimates that this industry could create around 20,000 direct jobs in Scotland by 2020, representing several billion pounds of direct investment to the economy.

At Scottish Renewables, on behalf of our members, we are working closely with the Scottish Government Renewables Policy team, Marine Scotland and other key decision makers and stakeholders to maximise offshore wind development and create a vibrant and sustainable offshore renewables industry in Scotland.