‘Flying start’ to 2015 for wind power in Scotland

Wind power output in Scotland got off to a "flying start" last month, generating enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 146% of Scottish households.

New data for January, released today (3 February), revealed that wind turbines provided an estimated 1,307,629MWh of electricity to the National Grid – an increase of 27% compared to the same month last year.

Wind generated enough output to supply 100% or more of Scottish homes on 24 out of the 31 days in the month, including two days where output was equivalent to more than 200%. Maximum output was on 14 January when generation was an estimated 60,800MWh, enough to supply five million homes – equivalent to 206% of all Scottish households.

Commenting on the figures, WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said: “While January’s wintry weather caused havoc for many people, it also proved to be a good month for wind power output in Scotland.

“Even on calmer days, when wind wasn’t at its strongest, wind still generated enough to support the electricity needs of more than a quarter of our households.”

This follows wind power output figures released for the whole of the UK earlier this week, which revealed that 14% of Britain’s energy (4.1TWh) came from wind turbines in January. The weekly record was also broken with 1.119GWh generated, and the half-hourly record was exceeded on 2 January, when wind supplied 31% of the nation’s energy demands.

2030 commitment

In Scotand, WWF Scotland would still like to see more renewables deployed across the country, alongside a step-change in energy efficiency.

“While January’s wind output may have got 2015 off to a flyer, it’s important to remember that household electricity demand only makes up two-fifths of Scotland’s total needs,” added Banks.

“Our recently-published study on delivering a decarbonised electricity system shows that a renewable efficient power system for Scotland is perfectly achievable by 2030. However, for this to happen we need to see a commitment to a 2030 UK-wide electricity decarbonisation target, long-term certainty for the renewables sector, and much greater efforts to reduce electricity demand.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what each of the political parties will set out in their election manifestos that will help deliver a low-carbon Scotland.”

Sun-loving renewables

January also proved to be a successful month for solar energy in Scotland. Despite the winter weather, there was enough sunshine to generate an estimated 37% of the electricity needs of an average home in Aberdeen, 30% in Glasgow, and 24% in Edinburgh.

Speaking about similarly positive solar figures for Scotland at the beginning of the year, Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy – which provided the data – said: “Scotland is clearly leading the way when it comes to wind power. However, despite misconceptions, Scotland also has potential for sun-loving renewables too.

“The data clearly show that there’s plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family’s electricity needs for most months of the year – even during some of the winter months. With hundreds of thousands of roofs, it would make sense to tap more of the sun’s power.”

Luke Nicholls

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