The Scottish renewable energy industry has seen a “momentous” and “ground breaking” year, according to Energy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change reports, the amount of energy generated from renewables has increased. In fact the UK’s onshore wind industry has generated an extra 111% of renewable energy, whilst hydroelectricity has also risen by 74%.

On top of this, government and bank loans and grants have dished out nearly £4 million to go towards helping communities in Scotland make the most of renewable energy projects. Fergus Ewing also mentioned that so far £750 million has been pumped into renewables as a whole.

More projects with an estimated capital investment of £46 billion are in development too. This would create 17 gigawatts of renewable generating capacity. At the moment there are 7GW of renewable energy in Scotland, and it’s believed the country will need to reach 16GW to power fully from renewables such as solar panels and wind farms.

Fergus Ewing said: “We have seen momentous progress towards our goal of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland’s electricity needs from renewables by 2020, as well as electricity generation from other energy technologies.

“We have switched on projects representing £750 million of investment in renewables this year alone, and there is a staggering £46 billion of investment in the pipeline. In March 2011 the Scottish Government consented the world’s largest tidal energy array in Islay.”

And a £40 million project from Scottish Power will soon see 5,000 homes powered by renewable energy. Onshore and offshore wind farms have proved particularly popular, despite some resistance from local communities because of their appearance.

The Scottish Government hopes to be generating 100% of energy through environmentally friendly resources by 2020. Renewable energy is a clean source because it doesn’t emit carbon dioxide when generating heat and electricity, unlike coal, gas and oil.