Wind Turbines Supplied 99% of Scotland Electricity Demand Last Month
Scottish wind turbines, propelled by Hurricane Ophelia's strong winds, sent more than 1.7 million megawatt hours of electricity to the National Grid in October, according to WWF Scotland, citing data collected from WeatherEnergy.
Scotland's total electricity consumption for homes, business and industry was around 1.75 million megawatt hours in October, meaning wind turbines alone generated 99 percent of the country's electricity needs.
If we were just to look at households, wind power generated enough electricity for 4.5 million homes last month—that's almost twice the number of actual households in Scotland.
"No one will be surprised that October proved to be a spectacular month for wind energy, with some high winds, including the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia," WWF Scotland's acting head of policy Gina Hanrahan told the Press Association.
"Fortunately our infrastructure coped well with the windy weather which provided enough to power nearly twice the number of households in Scotland and almost all of our electricity demand."
Just this past Oct. 2, wind generated enough electricity to power 7.116 million homes, or about three times the number of Scottish households.
Can this be right? #Scottish wind turbines yesterday managed a whopping 86,467MWh - enough for electricity for over 7 million households— Weather Energy (@Weather Energy)1507015159.0
"We're blown away by these figures but they are part of a pattern of increasingly green power production made possible thanks to many years of political support in Scotland. Across the year, renewables now contribute over half of our electricity needs," WWF Scotland's Director Sam Gardner said at the time.
But as Huffington Post UK pointed out, while these figures are impressive, the problem with so much wind energy is that all of it needs to be distributed so it does not go to waste. To solve this problem, perhaps Scotland can take a page from Germany, whose grid operators sometimes have to pay customers to take electricity off the grid because its renewable energy mix is generating so much power.
Another method would be ramping up the nascent grid-scale storage industry. The Scottish government is already trying this with its Hywind Scotland—the world's first floating wind farm, which officially switched on last month. The farm is integrated with Statoil's Batwind, a lithium battery that can store one megawatt-hour of power to help mitigate intermittency and optimize output.
While one megawatt-hour is not a lot—about the capacity of over 2 million iPhones—"it is the first step in a larger-scale rollout of battery solutions for renewable energy," HuffPo UK noted.
As Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said, "October was an extraordinary month and provides more evidence that greater investment in both renewables and storage is the way forward."
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What Is Ammonium Nitrate?<p>Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline salt that can be fairly cheaply produced from ammonia and nitric acid. It is soluble and often used as fertilizer, as nitrogen is needed for healthy plant development.</p><p>Ammonium nitrate in its pure form is not dangerous. It is, however, heat sensitive. At 32.2 degrees Celsius (89.96 degrees Fahrenheit), ammonium nitrate changes its atomic structure, which in turn changes its chemical properties.</p><p>When large quantities of ammonium nitrate are stored in one place, heat is generated. If the amount is sufficiently vast, it can cause the chemical to ignite. Once a temperature of 170 C is reached, ammonium nitrate starts breaking down, emitting nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas. Any sudden ignition causes ammonium nitrate to decompose directly into water, nitrogen and oxygen, which explains the enormous explosive power of the salt.</p>
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Terrorist Favorite<p>In Germany, the purchase and use of ammonium nitrate is regulated by the explosives act. This is because the cheap, highly explosive and relatively easily obtainable material has in the past been used by terrorists to carry out attacks.</p><p>For example, in 1995, U.S. conspiracy theorist and gun enthusiast Timothy McVeigh used a mixture of ammonium nitrate and other substances to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik also used ammonium nitrate in a car bomb attack in Oslo in 2011.</p>
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