Winter weather generates Scottish wind-power boost

Wind farm Cathkin Braes, near Glasgow - John LintonFollowing a record final month in December, 2014 proved to be a “massive year” for wind and solar power in Scotland, according to new figures published by WWF.

Over the whole of 2014, wind generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households during six out of the 12 months – January, February, March, October, November, and December.

And analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by Weather Energy also found that for the month of December:

  • Wind turbines alone provided around 1,279,150MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply the electrical needs of 164% of Scottish households, that’s enough for 3.96 million homes – and a record for 2014.
  • Maximum output was on 10 December 2014 – when generation was an estimated 65,970MWh, enough to supply 6.34 million homes for the whole day – equivalent to 262% of all Scottish households.
  • Minimum output was on 4 December, when generation was an estimated 9,295MWh, enough to supply 893,000 homes – equivalent to 37% of all Scottish households.
  • Wind turbines generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households on 25 out of the 31 days of December.

For homes fitted with solar PV panels, during June and July there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate an estimated 100% or more of the electricity needs of an average home, and 60% or more in the same four cities during March, April, May, August, and September.

For homes fitted with solar hot water panels, in July there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate an estimated 100% of the hot water needs of an average home, and 70% or more in the same four cities during April, May, June, and August.

Lang Banks, Director, WWF Scotland, said: “Without doubt, 2014 was a massive year for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-wreaking carbon emissions were avoided.

“And with 2015 being a critical year for addressing climate change internationally, it’s vital that Scotland continues to press ahead with plans to harness even greater amounts of clean energy.

“December turned out to a record-breaking month for wind power, with enough green energy generated to supply a record 164% of Scottish households with the electricity they need. Even on calmer days, wind still supplied the equivalent of over a third of electricity needs of every home.

“For 2014 as a whole, on average, wind power generated enough to supply the electrical needs of 98% of Scottish households, with six months where the amount was greater than 100%.

“And, in the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have installed solar panels saw them meet two-thirds or more of their electricity or hot water needs from the sun during several months of the year, helping those homes to reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or even oil.”

Karen Robinson of Weather Energy commented: “We’re famous in the UK for our obsession with the weather, but how often do we see it in a positive light?

“Scotland is clearly leading the way when it comes to wind power. And Scotland also has potential for sun-loving renewables too. The data clearly show that there’s plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family’s electricity needs for most months of the year – even during some of the winter months.”

Holyrood MP Rob Gibson, the SNP chairman of the Scottish parliamentary Environment Committee, added: “These are very welcome figures which demonstrate that the Scottish Government’s commitment to, and investment in, renewables is paying dividends.

“It is clearer than ever that Scotland’s renewable electricity generation will play a key part in keeping the lights on across the UK – and to keeping energy bills down.”

  • Meanwhile, the WWF and the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland have called on the Scot-Government to prioritise energy efficiency in 2015 if targets to tackle climate change and eradicate fuel poverty are to be met.

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