On Sunday the 7th of August 2016 for the first time ever Scotland’s wind turbines generated more electricity than was consumed within the entire country. The relatively unseasonable windy conditions saw the turbines generate 106% of the total amount of electricity used by all home and business in Scotland that day. Analysis by conservation group WWF Scotland confirmed the findings.
Lang Banks, WWF Scotland director said “While Sunday’s weather caused disruption for many people, it also proved to be a good day for wind power output, with wind turbines alone providing the equivalent of all Scotland’s total electricity needs. 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 this ensure we reap the many benefits of becoming a low-carbon economy we need to see this political support for renewables continue. On the path to a fully renewable future, this certainly marks a significant milestone. 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.”
Wind turbines in Scotland supplied 39,454MWh of electricity to the national grid for 24 hours on the 7th. The total consumption for that day was 37,202MWh.
Earlier this year the German renewable energy industry generated enough electricity to meet 100% demand at certain periods but never for a full 24 hours. Last year Denmark’s wind turbines generated 140% on the country’s demand.
A report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance in 2015 stated that wind power generates the least expensive electricity in both the UK and Germany.
James Court the head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association has spoken out against the government’s cuts which have threatened the entire industry.
“The UK already has 25 per cent of generation from renewables, and that was from a standing start 10 years ago,” he said.
“We are now at a point where renewables such as solar and wind are already cheaper than new gas plants; biomass and energy-from-waste are comparable to new nuclear; and grid-scale energy storage is being deployed commercially in the UK without subsidy.
“Now that renewables are cost competitive with fossil fuels, we need Government to level the playing field. Renewables are being blocked to market by Government policy, just at the time they are commercially viable.”
After last week’s record breaking generation the Scottish Government said in a statement that the “abundant energy resources play a vital role in delivering security of electricity supply across the UK. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting onshore wind, which is one of our most cost-effective low carbon energy technologies.
“We remain fully supportive of low-carbon technologies, which offer a huge economic opportunity for Scotland and have a key role to play in our fight against the threat posed by climate change to our society and natural environment.
“We have a clear policy for an energy mix to provide energy security for the future and will set out our ambitions for an integrated approach to low carbon technologies within our draft energy strategy later this year. This will include exploring the option of setting a new renewable energy target.”
They did however add the warning that “recent decisions taken at UK level have been damaging to key areas of the industry. Going forward we need both a long-term commitment and greater visibility on funding to provide certainty and confidence to developers and investors.”
As new renewable energy capacity levels start to stagnate as they are expected to from next year it will become less likely for records like these to be attained. However in the meantime it is worth celebrating such milestones as we can be proud of what we have achieved over the past ten years.
Scotland is now leading player in the wind generation industry. Those involved are sought throughout the world for their expertise and experience. Our capacity and infrastructure is looked upon with envy by other nations. Our resources are limitless. With the right support we continue to lead and create a safe, clean energy future.