Wind energy generation still on the up in Scotland

Wind energy generation still on the up in Scotland

A new report from WeatherEnergy has shown that in October wind turbines provided Scottish households on average 87% of their electricity demand. The data shows turbines generated 792,717MWh of electricity in October, up 25% on October 2015.

Taking into account all electricity used in Scotland last month including residential and business wind turbines generated 38% of the total 2,080GWh consumed.

Speaking at report launch Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: “According to the Met Office, Scotland had the sunniest and one of the driest Octobers since records began.

“However, the month also witnessed some powerful winds leading to a significant increase in wind power output when compared to last year. All this additional renewable electricity is good news in the battle to address global climate change.”

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines surged by more than a quarter compared to the same period last year – supplying power equivalent to the electrical needs of over two million homes.

“As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power is helping Scotland to avoid over a million tonnes of polluting carbon emissions every month.”

However it may not be too long before wind turbines are generating 50% of the entire UK’s electricity needs on a regular basis according to Henrick Poulsen. The chief executive of Dong Energy, the largest wind farm operator in the UK with stakes in planned or existing projects able to produce five gigawatts (5GW), more than the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear reactors said “When you look back in 10 years from now, we’ll see this period around 2016-17 as an inflection point. The cost of offshore wind, also solar and onshore wind, is coming down at such speed that nobody could have predicted.”

Poulsen also claimed that technological advances in the renewable energy industry and subsequent falling costs meant wind power could end up supplying more than half of the UK’s electricity demand.

“When you combine different things, you could see offshore wind’s total of the energy mix going a lot higher, you could definitely go above 50%.”

Wind power does have its critics with one negative levelled at it regularly is that the output is neither regular nor predictable. However advancements in energy storage including vast recent improvements in battery storage offers the possibility of storing large amounts of wind energy ready to be put back into the Grid during periods of high demand.

Dong Energy plan to sell its oil and gas division, the original key elements of its business on the back of its success in renewables. “The company has an ambition of leading the energy transformation of leading the transition to renewables. That’s been driving us for the past few years and we see this as the natural step to transforming to be fully focused on green energy.”

While we agree with Mr. Poulsen that there is room for further onshore wind capacity in the UK without the correct support it is unlikely to improve much more than where we currently stand.

Yes there are projects in development which will give us another boost next year but beyond that it is unlikely to grow any further as the UK Government moves away from renewables and returns to more traditional energy generation methods.

The renewable network that has been built up over the past few years is impressive and not only the installations such as wind turbines and solar panels. Both locally and nationally the grid has benefitted from these new generation points as it has been constantly upgraded in order to cope with this greater demand.

Now as much of this infrastructure is in place and adding the falling costs of the technology we are as Mr. Poulsen points out in a very good position to increase of generation capacity. However a radical rethink is required before such a thing can be realised.

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