UK wind power reaches record high as Scotland’s success continues

New data from the National Grid has revealed that UK wind power generation rose by 15% in 2014, while separate figures from WWF Scotland round-up a record-breaking year for renewables north of the border.

National Grid statistics show a rise from 24.5TWh to 28.1TWh electricity generated from renewables in the UK in 2014 – enough to power approximately a quarter of UK homes all year round.

Wind farms feeding into the grid and single turbines connected to local networks together provided 9.3% of the UK’s total electricity supply in 2014, up from 7.8% in 2013.

December saw record renewable energy generation with 14% of all UK electricity being produced by wind, beating the previous record of 13% set in December 2013. In the last three months of 2014, 12% of electricity was produced from wind, breaking the previous record of 11% set in Q1 of 2014.

Commenting on the figures, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: “It’s great to start 2015 with some good news about the massive quantities of clean electricity we’re now generating from wind, with new records being set month after month, quarter after quarter, and year on year, as we increase our capacity to harness one of Britain’s best natural resources.

“We’re now into a General Election year so we know that the political temperature is set to carry on rising over the next few months. The cost of energy has become an important political issue, so now would be a good time for voters, prospective parliamentary candidates and MPs to take account of the fact that onshore wind is the cheapest form of renewable energy we have at our fingertips.

“So if we’re serious about cutting bills, and securing an indigenous supply of clean power, all parties need to support it in the months ahead.”

Scottish success

Meanwhile, Scotland saw wind generate enough power to supply the electrical needs of 98% of Scottish households during 2014, with more than 100% being catered for during six of the 12 months.

Even in its least-productive month (June), wind power output in Scotland was 281,735MWh, enough to power 37% of Scottish homes.

The report also found that during June and July there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate an average 100% of the electricity needs of an average home.

Commenting on the data, WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said: “With 2015 being a critical year for addressing climate change internationally, it’s vital that Scotland continues to press ahead with plans to harness even greater amounts of clean energy.

“For 2014 as a whole, on average, wind power generated enough to supply the electrical needs of 98% of Scottish households, with six months where the amount was greater than 100%.

“And, in the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have installed solar panels saw them meet two-thirds or more of their electricity or hot water needs from the sun during several months of the year, helping those homes to reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or even oil.”  

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy added: “We’re famous in the UK for our obsession with the weather, but how often do we see it in a positive light? At a time when the world is desperately looking for low-carbon sources of energy, the data show that clean renewables are already playing a significant and growing role in Scotland’s, and the rest of the UK’s, overall energy mix. We just need to blow their trumpet a bit more.

“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.”

In early December, WWF Scotland released figures revealing that 107% of the electricity demand of Scottish households was met in November and suggesting that national governments present at the Lima climate talks should “follow Scotland’s lead” on wind power.

Lois Vallely

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