Scotland's Record-Breaking Wind Output Enough to Power 5 Million Homes
The country's onshore wind turbines provided more than 5.3 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid during the first three months of 2018, an impressive 44 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to an analysis of WWF Scotland wind power data by WeatherEnergy.
Over that first quarter, enough wind power was generated to supply the equivalent of five million homes with low-carbon electricity. The best day was on March 1, when 110,000 megawatt-hours of wind power could have supplied 173 percent of the nation's entire electricity demand.
"It's great to see renewables continuing to power Scotland, adding to the year on year evidence that greater investment in both renewables and storage is the way forward," said Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy.
WWF Scotland noted that these figures come fresh on the heels of data showing that 68 percent of Scotland's overall electricity demand was from renewables in 2017, and that renewables overtook nuclear as the second biggest source of power across the UK in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Scotland isn't just a leader in onshore wind—it's also home to the world's first floating wind farm. The 30-megawatt Hywind Scotland, located about 15 miles off the Aberdeenshire coast, churned out 65 percent of its maximum theoretical capacity during November, December and January, according to its operator, Statoil.
"Renewables have provided an incredible amount of power during the first three months of this year," Dr. Sam Gardner, WWF Scotland's acting director, said in a statement. "An increase of 44 percent on the record-breaking equivalent period in 2017 is clear evidence the investment made in this technology has paid off for the economy and the environment, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fight against climate change."
Gardner is calling on the rest of the UK government to work towards a low-carbon future.
"If Scotland's full renewables potential is to be unleashed to power our economy, heat our homes and charge our cars, then the UK government needs to stop excluding the cheapest forms of power, like onshore wind and solar, from the market," he said.
Last year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to end the sale of new gas and diesel-powered cars by 2032, eight years ahead of the UK government target. And unlike England, fracking was permanently banned in Scotland last year and has technically been under halt since 2015.