Doing well, could do better

January was another great month for renewable energy in Scotland with wind power generating 48% of the country’s entire energy needs for the month. Also there were 22 days when wind generated enough electricity to power every residential home in the country.

Data on generated renewable power supplied by Weather Energy was analysed by WWF Scotland who found that wind turbines provided 1,125,544 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to the national grid in January. This amount of electricity generated covered 48% of the country’s total consumption including residential, business, and industry for the entire month.

Speaking of these findings Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: “2016 has begun very much like 2015 ended, with wind power helping to supply large amounts of electricity to Scotland’s homes and businesses.

“All this renewable output is helping to avoid carbon emissions, something more important than ever as we begin to see the damaging impacts of climate change.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “2015 proved to be a big year for renewables, and the latest data makes clear that 2016 is already off to a flying start, with wind power alone meeting nearly half of Scotland’s total electricity needs during January.

“There is little doubt that 2016 will be another record year for renewables however what happens in the longer term will be down to our political leaders.”

Last month Scottish Renewables launched their manifesto in which that stated it is possible to reach 50% of all our energy needs (including heat and transport) from renewable sources. Wind power, being the most advance and one of the least expensive should play a major role in this but can only be achieved with government assistance.

An excellent model for this is Denmark which recently announced that wind power generated 42% of its electricity for the entire year 2015, the highest figure ever recorded worldwide.

Lars Christian Lilleholt, the country’s minister for energy, utilities and climate, called the record significant and said: “Hopefully, Denmark can serve as an example to other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply, and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity.”

Although the record breaking achievement benefitted from a windy 2015 there was two large offshore wind farms at Anholt and Horns Rev 2 which were both out of action for the entire year which combined could have provided a further 1.5%.

On the 2nd of September, the whole country operated without any central power stations being switched on at all. On another windy day in July Denmark produced so much electricity that it was able to meet all its electricity needs and export another 40% of its power abroad. The surplus wind energy is mostly sold to consumers in Norway, Sweden and Germany,

As Denmark continues to push forward with its renewable plans and is already reaping the benefits from long term strategic planning Scotland currently lies in an energy limbo. Renewables and wind in particular are doing well but with a more supportive government delivering considered policies we could surpass Denmark and create a surplus of clean renewable energy to the rest of Europe. We do after all have much more wind than them.

 

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