Scotland’s renewable output during September hit a “big jump” according to WWF Scotland, which pointed out the unseasonal weather was a boon for the industry’s electricity generation.
Local environmental groups revealed that Scotland’s monthly output of renewable energy for September was up, thanks in part to the unseasonal weather that had befallen the northern country. Specifically, both wind and solar did a lot of hard work, considering the country’s long track-record of late-year renewable energy generation records.
Wind turbines across Scotland provided 563,835 MWh of electricity to the country’s National Grid, which is enough to supply 64% Scotland’s residential needs, and an increase of 82% compared year-over-year. In fact, wind generated 100% or more of an average Scottish household’s needs on five separate days during September, and over the whole month, generated the equivalent of 28% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for September.
Of course, there were days when wind didn’t generate anywhere near those levels — as on September 26, when it only generated an estimated 4,631MWh, enough to supply 381,152 homes, the equivalent of 15.5% of all Scottish households. However, conversely, given the right weather, Scotland’s wind industry can do big things, as on the 12th of September, when wind in the country generated an estimated 44,859MWh, which is enough to supply 3.69 million homes, or the equivalent of 153% of all Scottish households and 80% of total Scottish electricity demand that day.
Solar did all right for the month as well for homes fitted with solar PV panels or those fitted with solar hot water panels.
Homes with solar PV generated an estimated 70% or more of the electricity needs of an average household in Dundee, Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and 65% or more in Inverness and Aberdeen. Those households fitted with hot water solar panels received enough sunshine to generate 80% or more of an average household’s hot water needs in Perth and Stirling, and 65% or more in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgor, Inverness, and Aberdeen.
“We recently learned that during 2014 Scotland’s renewable energy sector helped us to avoid a record amount of carbon emissions,” said WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks, referring to the recent news that Scotland’s renewable energy industry generated enough electricity throughout 2014 to displace 12.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. “Given the big jump in renewables output during September it’s very likely we’ll be breaking even more records this year. Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines was up more than 80 per cent compared to the same period last year – supplying power equivalent to the electrical needs of one and a half million homes.”
“Scotland has proved yet again that whatever the weather it’s still good news for renewable energy generation,” said Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy, the organization behind providing the information in a joint attempt with WWF Scotland to “help the public better understand the nation’s renewable energy resource.” “The Indian summer at the end of the month wasn’t just a nice surprise; it also helped ensure that total solar power output across September remained high. As we move toward winter we can expect solar output to decline a little, but wind power output to begin to ramp up.”
A recent report from one of the UK’s leading renewable energy trade organizations, RenewableUK, also confirmed Scotland’s use of wind, concluding that the country is pulling ahead of its parent country, England, in terms of onshore wind use. According to the report, 60% of UK onshore wind projects are now installed and operational within Scotland’s borders, and 50% of all new construction activity and 70% of all new consents were in Scotland.
In fact, the entire renewable energy is strong in the country, according to figures published in August by the nation’s own renewable energy industry body, Scottish Renewables, which found that there are around 42,000 solar schemes, equating to around 660,000 250 MW solar panels, 2,557 small wind projects, 204 hydro-electric schemes, and three anaerobic digesters generating electricity throughout Scotland.
This is backed up by the recent news that Scotland has already surpassed its 2020 target of 500 MW of locally-owned and community driven renewable energy.
“Community energy represents tremendous potential to empower people to make the most of their own local resources,” said Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. “By creating a system that focuses on local energy, we can help to tackle some of our most pressing issues – from security of supply, to increasing energy costs – and stimulate local economic renewal.
“I am delighted we have met this target early which creates a huge opportunity to increase our ambition and to keep Scotland in the lead. We will be considering the scope to review our target alongside other energy policy development over the coming months.”
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