Windy July prompts renewable energy surge in Scotland
Wind energy generated power for almost three quarters of Scotland's houses in July, according to new figures released today (4 August).
The figures, from from WeatherEnergy, reveal that wind turbines powered 72% of Scottish households last month; providing more than 660,000MWh of electricity to the national grid. This represents an increase of 58% compared to July 2014, when wind turbines generated 417,000MWh.
Wind farms generated the equivalent of 36% of Scotland’s total electricity requirements and produced enough electricity to power 100% of Scottish homes on eight July days.
Despite the dreary weather, there was enough sunshine to generate more than 85% of electricity for homes fitted with solar PV panels in Aberdeen, Inverness and Edinburgh.
WWF Scotland’s Lang Banks said the wet and windy July had proved to be a “belter of a month” for wind power in Scotland.
Banks said: “Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and much windier weather, output from turbines was up more than half compared to the same period last year – supplying power equivalent to the electrical needs of 1.75 million homes.
WeatherEnergy’s Karen Robinson said the solar output was similarly impressive, even given the overcast weather experienced by much of the UK. Robinson said: "While people might not be too surprised to learn wind power output was up in July, they might be to discover that solar power output was impressive too."
Riding the wave
The new renewable energy data comes as the Scottish Government announced a series of investments in wave energy projects.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has allocated £7m to 16 wave energy developers to help them commercialise their technologies.
Contracts ranged from £78,000 for concept optimisation, up to £2M for later stage prototype development.
The WavePOD project, the recipient of that £2m funding, aims to develop a standardised wave unit to convert energy from wave machines into electricity.
This is the first round of contracts awarded by WES – a Scottish Government-funded organisation, set up last year to support the development of wave energy technology.
A report released in January by the journal Renewable Energy claimed that large-scale wave energy is comparatively more reliable, consistent and potentially cheaper than other forms of energy generation, including wind power.
The UK generated 19.1% of its electricity from renewable energy sources in 2014, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Overall, 7% of the UK's energy came from renewables last year.