Scotland smashes onshore wind record
Experts have hailed the "incredible amount" of power produced by Scotland's onshore wind turbines in the first quarter of 2018, which is up 44% on the first three months of last year.
Onshore wind generated 5,353,997MWh between January and March 2018, providing enough electricity to power the equivalent of around five million homes.
The best day was 1 March when generation was 110,149MWh, enough to power 9,065,020 homes, which is the equivalent to 374% of Scottish households. Total demand on the grid that day was 63,807MWh, meaning that wind power could have supplied 173% of demand.
“Renewables have provided an incredible amount of power during the first three months of this year,” said WWF Scotland’s acting director Dr Sam Gardner.
“An increase of 44% on the record-breaking equivalent period in 2017 is clear evidence the investment made in this technology has paid off for the economy and the environment, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fight against climate change.”
Gardner said the UK Government must “stop excluding” the likes of onshore wind and solar from the market if Scotland is to benefit from the country’s full renewables potential.
The latest statistics come off the back of data revealing that more than two-thirds (68%) of Scotland’s overall electricity demand came from renewables in 2017. Highlights from last year included the world’s first floating wind farm delivering electricity to the Scottish grid and the country’s largest solar farm receiving the green light.
The Scottish Government last year committed to deliver 50% of all energy from renewables across heat, transport and electricity, alongside plans to phase out new polluting petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032.
Scotland has already exceed its its 2020 target to reduce emissions by 42% against a 1990 baseline. Scottish ministers recently published plans to reduce emissions 90% by 2050, a goal which is 10% higher than the UK’s target.
But climate scientists have this weekend called on Scotland to further ramp up its efforts. In a letter written to the Sunday Herald, a dozen professors from Cambridge, Oxford, London and Edinburgh urged the Scottish Government to aim for “net-zero emissions for Scotland by 2050 at the latest”.
Meeting the Paris Agreement’s aim for a 1.5C world requires “richer nations like Scotland… to achieve this goal much sooner than developing nations,” the scientists claim.
The joint letter was initiated by the scientists and co-ordinated by WWF Scotland, whose acting head of policy Gina Hanrachan highlighted the “clear opportunity” for the country’s upcoming Climate Change Bill to demonstrate Scotland's “international leadership” on climate action.
“Wildlife and people here in Scotland, and around the world, are already feeling the impact of climate change,” Hanrachan said.
“Scotland’s politicians must use the upcoming Climate Change Bill to send a clear message that we will secure the benefits of leading the global transition to a zero emissions economy.”