Scotland’s Renewable Winter

Renewable Energy in Scotland has so far experienced a positive winter in Scotland. This week WWF Scotland released new figures stating the 2015 was a great year for renewable energy in the country.

This was due to renewable energy proving 97% of Scotland’s residential electricity demand through the entire year with wind power alone increasing its contribution by 16% compared to 2014. In December alone electricity generated from wind power exceeded the country’s residential demand by 48%.

This increase in renewable energy use in turn prevented millions of tonnes of carbon emissions being ejected into the atmosphere helping to produce a cleaner environment and WWF has subsequently called on all political parties to implement policies ensuring Scotland is the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

WWF director Lang Banks said “On average, across 2015, wind power generated enough to supply the electrical needs of 97% 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, half or more of their electricity or hot water needs were met from the sun for the most of the year, helping those homes to reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or oil.”

With 2016 being a critical year politically, we’d like to see each of the political parties back policies that would enable Scotland become the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.”

In other new figures released by WWF Scotland along with the Solar Trade Association the Scottish Borders was shown to be the region with the third highest number of solar instillations in the country.

This was due to a 41% increase in solar arrays in the Borders region from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015 to 2,595 in total. Aberdeen and Fife remain in first and second place as across the country the total capacity of solar photo-voltaic systems attained 179MW, an increase of 28% from the previous year.

WWF and the Solar Trade Association has asked the Scottish Government to encourage further development of solar power stating that further increases will prevent thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Welcoming the data Lang Banks said: “Despite the challenges facing the industry, it’s fantastic to see so many homes and businesses embracing solar power.

“Although the total installed solar capacity is small when compared to wind energy, we should remember that collectively these solar panels are helping to prevent thousands of tonnes of climate-damaging emissions being emitted every year.

“Following the recent conclusion UN climate talks in Paris, alongside energy saving measures, we’re going to have to see an even greater uptake of solar and other renewable technologies here and globally.

“We therefore call upon the Scottish Government to do all that it can to help ensure Scotland switches on to the full potential of solar power.”

Also in the good news bracket for renewable energy in Scotland is that over seven hundred homes in the Broomhill area of Glasgow will benefit from a new £10million project designed to provide renewable heat and cut energy bills.

The Cube Housing Association district heating project will be a low carbon energy centre providing heat and hot water to the homes via three 500KW wood pellet boilers with thermal heat stores and a 1.5MW condensing gas boiler.

The project which is expected to same 2000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year has been funded by British Gas and a loan from the Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (Spruce) fund, a joint Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund regeneration initiative.

Alex Neil Social Justice Secretary said: “This £10.6 million project will make a massive difference to the lives of hundreds of households in Glasgow, supplying heat more efficiently and saving people money on their bills.

“The district heating scheme will help tackle fuel poverty, be better for the planet and make homes in the Broomhill area warmer and cheaper to heat.

“From energy centres to business parks the Spruce fund is helping to regenerate areas by providing crucial investment that is supporting the economy and jobs and transforming our communities for the better.”

Despite dwindling subsidies and little government support renewable energy can still have a positive impact. Our environment is cleaner because of our continued wind power generation, our commitment to solar arrays, and our establishment of newer technologies such as district heat projects. Consumer’s bills are being reduced due to renewable energy projects and the technology is costing less.

With proper commitment we can continue this trend which will lead to clean, safe, and inexpensive secure energy future. All involved have to pull together with a clear direction but it is achievable. What we have accomplished already is in a short space of time is proof of that.

 

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