That Scotland saw impressive records broken last year is of no real surprise to those who followed news of their monthly wind energy generation numbers. New numbers published early January have only confirmed that sense of record breaking, with another record month and a “massive year” in total.
WWF Scotland provided the information, by way of WeatherEnergy, and found that for December, wind energy provided 164% of Scottish household electrical needs — a massive record, well up on what had already seemed to be a mammoth record, set in October, when wind energy provided 126% (though, as it turns out, before Scotland’s performance was brought to my attention, they hit 163% in February). Specifically, wind energy delivered 1,279,150MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough for 3.96 million homes.
In fact, wind energy generated enough energy to supply over 100% of Scottish household needs on 25 out of the 31 days of December.
“December turned out to a record-breaking month for wind power, with enough green energy generated to supply a record 164% of Scottish households with the electricity they need,” said WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks. “Even on calmer days, wind still supplied the equivalent of over a third of electricity needs of every home.”
For 2014 as a whole, wind energy delivered an estimated 8,958,130MWh of electricity to the National Grid, or an average of 746,510MWh each month. That’s enough to supply the electrical needs of 98% of all Scottish households.
“Without doubt, 2014 was a massive year for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-wreaking carbon emissions were avoided,” added Banks. “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.”
Solar power did relatively well throughout the year for Scotland, though it’s hard to come close to the country’s wind energy industry. Homes fitted with solar PV panels generated enough energy to supply homes in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness with an estimated 100% or more of their electricity needs throughout June and July, and 60% or more across the same four cities during March, April, May, August, and September.
“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 that 100%,” Banks continued. “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.”
Karin Robinson of WeatherEnergy also commented on the remarkable year-that-was for Scotland:
“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.
The news came just a few days before WWF published another report, this time based upon technical analysis conducted by international energy and engineering consultancy DNV GL, which found that Scotland could be a renewable energy powerhouse by 2030, completely decarbonised and delivering renewable energy enough for all the country’s electricity needs.
“It’s great to see the vision for a secure, renewables-based future for Scotland independently tested and proven,” said WWF Scotland’s Climate and Energy Policy Officer, Gina Hanrahan. “It’s clear that Scotland doesn’t have to generate electricity from coal, gas or nuclear to ensure security of supply.”
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