New polling numbers from Britain’s YouGov has found that 71% of Scottish adults are in favor of the continued development of wind power as part of the country’s energy mix, a number that has increased from 64% two years prior.
Founded in the UK, YouGov has often been used by British renewable energy agencies to poll the nation on their views towards clean energy. This time around, Scottish Renewables contracted the company to discover the northern country’s perspective on wind development, at the same time that it was revealed that the capacity of onshore wind in Scotland had risen by 20% over the same two-year period.
“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,” said Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “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.”
“We are often told by a vocal minority of objectors that Scots don’t like wind power, but this poll shows there is absolutely no evidence to support this — in fact, quite the opposite.”
The polling was conducted towards the end of February, and included over 2,000 Scottish adults, who answered questions online.
The relevant question from the YouGov survey read as follows:
Scotland currently uses a mix of coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable energy to power and heat our homes and businesses. Renewable energy sources include onshore and offshore wind, hydro, bioenergy, wave and tidal energy.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
“I support the continuing development of wind power as part of a mix of renewable and conventional forms of electricity generation”
71% of total respondents agreed with the statement in some manner, and only 13% disagreed to some degree (with another 13% neither agreeing or disagreeing, and 3% responding “Don’t know”).
The polling results come less than a day after Scottish clean energy developer Banks Renewable submitted plans for an 88.4 MW wind farm to be located east of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire. If approved by the Scottish government, the wind farm would provide enough power for 58,000 average homes, while cutting carbon emissions by approximately 3.3 million tonnes over the course of the farms lifetime.
At the same time, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced to the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) conference organized by Local Energy Scotland that energy projects under community or local ownership grew by 27% in 2014, well on track to meet the country’s target of 500 MW of such energy by 2020.
“The Scottish Government is defining a distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision; putting communities at the heart of decisions about their local energy system; and empowering them to take an economic stake in new developments,” Mr Ewing said, as he announced more than £20 million in funding for five projects across Scotland.
The successful recipients are:
- £1.8 million to Community Energy Scotland to develop viable grid connections for small scale generators in areas of constrained network on Mull.
- £6 million to Insch Renewable Energy Consortium to develop a community energy system linking local energy demand with local renewable generation in a rural area of Aberdeenshire – helping to reduce electricity costs.
- £3.2 million to Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association to develop innovative local heat storage solutions, which will help alleviate fuel poverty for over 1,000 tenants across Falkirk and the Lothians.
- £6 million to Highland Council to provide low carbon affordable heat and alleviate fuel poverty via a water source heat pump district heating network in Caol near Fort William – benefiting over 500 homes.
- £4 million to Bright Green Hydrogen to use hydrogen to meet local transport, heating and storage needs across Levenmouth.
“These projects are a huge step towards defining a distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision. They will provide vital learning across extremely challenging areas, such as adding value to local economies, matching local supply and demand, and addressing fuel poverty.
“But we know this is just the beginning, and we want to support more innovations like these. This is why the Scottish Government will run a second Challenge Fund, subject to the next spending round, making up to £500,000 will be available in 2015/2016.”
The news comes after repeated months of wind energy records for Scotland, supplying 126% of all home energy needs in October, and 107% in November of 2014, and 146% of all Scottish household needs in January. Needless to say, it is entirely likely Scotland is going to continue breaking records, with public and governmental support leading the way for the country to become a global wind energy powerhouse.