Wind power was the toast of Scotland again in October as over the course of the month turbines throughout the country produced enough electricity for almost double the amount of homes.
1.7million megawatt hours of electricity were generated by Scottish wind turbines in October according to data collated by WeatherEnergy, enough to power 4.5 million homes with more than 100 per cent of the total domestic electricity requirement generated on 28 out of 31 days.
WeatherEnergy’s Karen Robinson said: “October was an extraordinary month and provides more evidence that greater investment in both renewables and storage is the way forward.”
Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “No-one will be surprised that October proved to be a spectacular month for wind energy, with some high winds, including the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia.
“Fortunately our infrastructure coped well with the windy weather which provided enough to power nearly twice the number of households in Scotland and almost all of our electricity demand.
“Scotland’s renewable sector is thriving, but to have continued growth of clean, cheap power the UK Government needs to allow onshore wind and solar to compete for contracts on a level playing field.
“This is backed by everyone from the Scottish Government to the National Infrastructure Commission to Ofgem and, most importantly, the general public.
“Renewables, including onshore wind, are riding high in the polls with record levels of support. Consumers, the industry and the planet would all benefit from their continued deployment.”
Stephanie Conesa, policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland is home to approximately 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind resource and we are now starting to build projects which will harness this potential.
“The Beatrice project in the Moray Firth is forging ahead, Statoil’s world-leading Hywind is now generating electricity and the contract awarded to the 950MW Moray East project by the UK Government in 2017 showed the impressive cost reductions which are possible in the sector.
“Scotland is also emerging as an international centre of offshore wind innovation. The 196 metre Levenmouth turbine in Fife is the world’s most advanced open access offshore wind turbine dedicated to research, while the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre – an 11-turbine scheme off Aberdeen – is set to trial next-generation technology and boost the industry’s drive to produce competitive clean power.
“The economic impact of these projects is already being felt. Ports like Nigg and Wick and coastal towns, including Campbeltown and Stornoway, are seeing investment, development and jobs.
“Other parts of the supply chain, too, are developing apace, with companies such as Edinburgh’s Limpet Technologies developing innovative systems to protect the offshore wind workforce of the future.
“The Scottish Government has shown its ambition to generate the equivalent of half of all energy consumed from renewable sources by 2030 and offshore wind can play a key role in meeting that ambition, as well as the UK’s wider climate goals and our international commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
In other wind generation news the Crown Estate Scotland, who are responsible for leasing the seabed to developers, is to start discussions with the renewables industry and the government to prepare for potential new offshore wind farms.
The proposed new leasing will potentially see more sea bed used by developers to build commercial-scale (100MW+) floating and / or fixed offshore wind farms and follows figures released in September showing a sharp fall in the cost of offshore wind electricity.
John Robertson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland said: “We have now started to consider if and how to issue new leasing rights for commercial-scale offshore wind projects.
“This will include speaking to local, Scottish and UK stakeholders in 2018 to understand their views on our proposed approach.
“The waters around Scotland have fantastic potential, particularly for developments in deeper waters.
“With costs being lowered and jobs created throughout the supply chain, new leasing has the potential to benefit communities, consumers and the climate.”
Scottish Government minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “The potential benefits of offshore wind energy are enormous, given Scotland’s very extensive maritime area and estimated 25% share of Europe’s wind energy potential.
“Investment in renewable energy, such as offshore wind, will not only stimulate economic growth, but can also help to lower electricity prices in the future and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, thereby, mitigate the impacts of climate change.
“We want to maximise the huge potential of this industry and its supply chain here, in Scotland, and so I welcome Crown Estate Scotland’s efforts to identify future licensing opportunities and look forward to working with CES as they manage Scotland’s marine assets directly on behalf of Scottish Ministers.”
UK Government energy minister, Richard Harrington, said: “The offshore wind sector in the UK has shown great ambition and is bringing forward clean energy projects that could power more than 3 million homes, at half the cost achieved in previous auctions.
“Our Clean Growth Strategy sets out that the UK could support another 10GW of offshore wind in the 2020s, with the opportunity for more if it’s cost effective. This announcement today is an important step towards these future projects.”
We have always stated that a diverse renewable energy mix is the best way to generate power and stand by that. However wind generation is very much the leader in Scotland. Its technologies are tested and reliable. Its costs are now below that of the non-renewable traditional generation methods and we have the resources. It is a perfect match.
So while it is not surprising to see it producing such quantities of electricity it is pleasing. With new storage methods coming online the ability to produce, store, and distribute renewable energy to suit the peaks and troughs of consumer demand is not far away.
And with that will come the realisation of 100% of the country’s electricity demand being met by renewables. Then we can start importing to other countries all the while reducing our reliance on carbon based energy and the harmful emissions it can produce.