Scottish support for wind power rises as industry grows
A new poll has revealed that increased wind power capacity development in Scotland is not swaying support among Scottish adults, with it instead rising.
More than seven in 10 adults polled in February 2015 by YouGov said they supported the continued development of wind power, rising from 64% in February 2013. Scottish Renewables said the capacity of onshore wind in Scotland has risen by 20% in the same period.
Support was shown to be highest among Scots aged between 18-24, at 81%, and lowest among those aged 55 and older, but wind still receives support from two-thirds of that demographic.
“These poll results highlight once again that not only do the vast majority of Scots support wind power, but the number who do is actually increasing,” Scottish Renewables senior policy manager Joss Blamire said. “The wind energy sector is thriving in Scotland, providing jobs, investment and helping to tackle climate change – and these figures show it’s doing all of this with the Scottish public right behind it.”
Commenting on the results WWF Scotland said it was vital these results are listened to by the Government and that it supports continued development so the full potential of renewables in Scotland can be realised.
“It’s fantastic news to see the growth in Scotland’s onshore wind capacity is matched by increased public support for this clean energy source.” WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said. “It’s clear that the public know and like the fact that wind power is helping to cut carbon, create jobs and keep the lights on.”
Community and local ownership in Scotland is also increasing. Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced yesterday that there has been a 27% increase in the last year, taking the total to 360MW.
The Scottish Government has an ‘ambitious’ target of 500MW in community and local ownership by 2020. It aims to drive uptake with its community energy empowerment programme to ensure local communities derive the maximum benefits.
“By creating a system that focuses on local energy, we can help tackle some of our most pressing issues – from security of supply, to increasing costs – and stimulate local economic renewal,” Ewing said.
“The biggest reason for that is a lot of hard work and determination from communities and developers. There are many good examples of this across Scotland like the Point and Sandwick Wind Farm is a fully owned community scheme on the Isle of Lewis – the biggest of its kind in the UK. It is expected to be operational later this year, and will generate money for the local community – estimated around £1 million a year.
“Stewart Energy demonstrates how local developers and communities can make shared ownership work. The Stewart family were committed to keeping the benefits of renewable energy in their community by offering the community a 25% stake.”
National Grid revealed in January that UK wind power generation rose by 15% in 2014, while separate figures from WWF Scotland revealed it to be a record-breaking year for renewables north of the border.