The generation of electricity from wind energy provided several records across the United Kingdom, and Scotland in particular, over the Christmas period — including delivering enough power for all of Scotland’s electricity needs for four days straight.
According to WWF Scotland, based on figures from WeatherEnergy, wind energy generated the equivalent of enough electricity to supply the country with all its power needs across December 23, 24, 25, and 26. Wind energy has previously, and regularly, generated enough electricity in Scotland to supply the equivalent of the country’s electricity needs in one day, but this is the first time it has ever done so for four days straight.
In addition, on Christmas Eve (December 24), wind energy delivered 74,042 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid, a new record for the amount of wind energy generated in a single day — 132% of the country’s electricity needs that day. For whatever reason, the electricity needs of Scotland fell on Christmas Day, which meant that wind energy actually generated 153% of the country’s total electricity demand.
“These are two spectacular achievements, which underline the massive progress Scotland is making in securing an ever-increasing proportion of its electricity needs from wind power and other clean renewable sources,” said WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks. “Scotland can be proud that its record-breaking wind power output at the end of December, and resulting export of excess electricity through interconnectors to England, greatly contributed to what also proved a record-breaking week for wind power across the entire UK.”
“It was only as recently as August 2016 that we first recorded a day where wind powered electricity generation exceeded demand,” said Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy. “However, thanks to increasing levels of renewables capacity and improved energy efficiency reducing power demand, we’re starting to see more and more such days.
“Given these figures, now is the time for serious consideration to be given to using more of this excess renewable electricity to help de-carbonise other areas of society, such as powering electric vehicles or heating our homes and businesses using non-fossil fuel technologies.”
Scotland wasn’t the only part of the United Kingdom where wind energy played an important role over Christmas, with new figures from the country’s National Grid showing that new wind energy records were set across the UK on December 23, 24, and 25.
Wind energy supplied a record 41% of the UK’s electricity needs in a half hour period on Christmas Day, well in excess of the previous record of 34%. Christmas Day was also home to a new daily record, with 32% of the UK’s electricity needs being generated by wind. Overall, renewable energy met 42% of electricity demand on Christmas Day.
Further, 20% of the UK’s electricity was generated by wind in the week ending on Christmas Day, exceeding the previous record of 19%. In total, renewables accounted for 28% of total electricity generation in that week.
“The growth of wind energy across the UK over the past 25 years is a great success story which we can all be proud of, and it’s especially heartening to see that it was wind that helped to keep the Christmas lights on throughout the festive season,” said Maf Smith, RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive. “Renewables are now a mainstream provider of electricity, delivering low cost, reliable power to consumers not just at Christmas but the whole year round.”