The Scottish renewable energy sector is one of the world’s best performing, and new data from WeatherEnergy has shown that October was a “bumper month” for the country, generating more than enough electricity from renewable sources to power the country.
The figures were published by WWF Scotland on Tuesday, based on figures provided by WeatherEnergy, an organisation part of the European EnergizAIR project.
Solar energy production was the secondary winner in October, generating an estimated 46% of an average home’s energy needs in Edinburgh, 38% in Inverness, 37% in Glasgow, and 33% in Aberdeen. While those houses fitted with solar hot water panels generated enough energy to meet approximately 41% of the hot water needs of an average home in Edinburgh, 31% in Inverness, 30% in Glasgow, and 27% in Aberdeen.
However, the real winner was wind generation, which generated a phenomenal 126% of the electricity needs of every home in Scotland!
“While nuclear power plants were being forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland’s wind and sunshine were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country,” said WWF Scotland’s director, Lang Banks. “With wind power generating enough electricity to power 126% of the needs of every home in Scotland, it really was a bumper month for renewables in Scotland.”
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The figures show that wind turbines generated a whopping 982,842 MWh of electricity, which is enough to power well over 3 million homes in the UK.
“Summer may be a distant memory, but for the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have installed solar panels to generate electricity or heat water, a third or more of their needs were met from the sun this October, helping reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or even oil,” Lang added.
Business As Usual
The news comes on the heels of regular good news for the Scottish renewable energy industry. Following the failed independence referendum vote — which many analysts believed would have been a devastating move for the country’s renewable energy industry — Scotland has quietly been making some big headlines.
In September, a Scottish Renewables report showed that the Scottish wave and tidal energy sector had invested more than £217 million, with £31.8 million spent over the past 12 months alone, and an expected target of £50 billion by 2050.
A week and a half after the referendum vote, the Scottish Government approved the Middle Muir wind farm project, a 60 MW project located near in South Lanarkshire. And while small, at the time it represented a “business as usual” status for the industry after such a momentous occasion.
And just last month, the Scottish Government gave the green light to four new offshore wind energy projects. Together, the four projects represent approximately 2.2 GW of new offshore wind energy capacity. They are: the Neart Na Gaoithe project being developed by Mainstream Renewable Energy; the Inch Cape project being developed by Repsol Nuevas Energias UK and EDPR; and the Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo projects being developed by SSE and Fluor.
The Quiet Growth Industry
There have been several countries making headlines lately due to their impressive growth over the past few years. However, Scotland has seen steady and continual growth for the past eight years — a growth that has no intention of stopping.
According to figures provided by Scottish Renewables, Scottish renewable energy capacity has grown at an average of 660 MW per year since the end of 2007.
Unsurprisingly, given the locale and technological prowess of the country, wind is a big factor in the country’s energy mix. Totalling over 7 GW, the sector has more than doubled since the end of 2007, thanks to big pushes by wind and hydro.
On top of that, there is a phenomenal pipeline of renewable projects currently in development or awaiting construction, totalling over 13 GW.
The primary drivers are, again, wind, with massive amounts of onshore wind either in planning, awaiting construction, or in construction.
By the end of 2013, renewable electricity output had more than doubled from 8,215 GWh in 2007 to 16,974 GWh in 2013. In 2013, renewable energy accounted for 46.4% of total energy consumption — a figure that we know is already increasing. At the same time, gross consumption is down over the 2007–2013 period, which is helping renewable energy meet more and more of the country’s energy needs.
In the end, renewable energy is still a growing market and has a lot of work to do to compete with the existing nuclear infrastructure, but as Lang Banks said, the new technologies are competing. With so much in the renewable energy pipeline, figures for the end of 2015 are going to be highly anticipated.
Image Credit: Lang Banks, WWF, via Twitter
Charts courtesy of Scottish Renewables