Summer storms drive wind turbines to generate record 106% of Scottish electricity

Share of UK electricity generated by renewables in 1Q2016: Source DECC.
Share of UK electricity generated by renewables in 1Q2016: Source DECC.

Stormy weather over the past week-end helped wind turbines generate – for the first time – more than enough power to meet all of Scotland’s electricity needs.

Unseasonal gales – with windspread wind speeds of between 60-70mph – drove turbines to provide 39,545 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid on 7 August while the country’s total power consumption for homes, business and industry was 37,202 MWh.

This means that wind power generated 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs.

Karen Robinson, of the WeatherEnergy project, which provided the data, explained that electricity demand during weekends was “usually lower than the rest of the week” and that people also tend to use less power during the summer. 

She added: “Nevertheless, the fact that wind power was able to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity needs shows just how far renewables have come.”

Lang Banks, Director, WWF Scotland, commented: “This major moment was made possible thanks in part to many years of political support, which means that across the year now renewables contribute well over half of our electricity needs.

“However, if we want to ensure we reap the many benefits of becoming a low carbon economy, we need to see this political support for renewables continue .It should also be remembered that wind power is not the only renewable power source Scotland has at its disposal. 

“If we continue to take steps to reduce our energy demand, invest in storage, and increase our use of renewables we can hopefully look forward to many days that are fully powered by nature.”

Meanwhile, renewables generated just over a quarter (25.1%) of UK electricity in the first quarter of this year – up by 2.3% – compared to last year, according to the latest figures issued by DECC (now amalgamated with the Dept for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.)

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