The winds blew strong in Scotland throughout March, apparently, as new figures show that wind turbines in Scotland generated record levels of electricity, so much so that on average, wind generated enough to supply the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households.
New analysis by WWF Scotland of wind power data provided by WeatherEnergy found that wind turbines in Scotland provided 1,240,095 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid during the month of March — enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households. This represents a stunning 81% increase over the same month a year ago, and obviously represents a new record for the month of March.
Impressively, while this is a strong March — in 2016, wind energy only provided 684,632 MWh, and in 2015 1,006,018 MWh — this does not represent a record for any month, just March, with other months having had higher total outputs. Only the month before, wind energy provided 1,331,420 MWh of electricity to the National Grid in February — enough to power the equivalent of 3.9 million homes, or 162% of Scottish households.
When looked at from the overall electricity consumption in Scotland for the month of March, wind power generated the equivalent of 58% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs, including homes, business, and industry. However, on Friday the 17th and Sunday the 19th of March, Scotland’s wind energy fleet generated output equivalent to more than Scotland’s total power needs for each entire day — 102% and 130% equivalent respectively.
“Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing increase capacity by building new wind farms,” said WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks. “As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year.”
“It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output of the years,” said Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy. “The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. More importantly, it meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”
The WWF is therefore calling on political parties in Scotland to continue backing onshore wind power in an effort to help the country meet its carbon emission cut targets. Additionally, Scotland’s government earlier this year published a draft energy strategy in which it is hoping to deliver the equivalent of 50% of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport, and electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2030.
“However, the UK Government’s decision to end support for onshore wind is going to make meeting our international climate obligations much harder in the future,” Banks continued. “The reality is that if we’re serious about cutting carbon pollution in the most cost-effective way, then we need every one of the political parties in Scotland to back the continued deployment of onshore wind power.
“It’s only with political backing for onshore wind from all of the parties that Scotland will be able to maximise the benefits to its economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”