Scotland generating enough wind energy to power two Scotlands

‘Amazing figures’ highlight consistency of wind energy in Scotland, say campaigners

Harry Cockburn
Saturday 20 July 2019 09:40
Planning applications for new on-shore wind farms plummeted by 94 per cent after the UK government changed rules in 2015
Planning applications for new on-shore wind farms plummeted by 94 per cent after the UK government changed rules in 2015

Wind turbines in Scotland generated almost twice the entire country’s domestic power requirements In the first six months of the year.

Enough energy was created by the country’s renewables to power homes from all the way up in Harris in the Outer Hebrides down to Harrogate in Yorkshire, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland said.

The figures, from Weather Energy, show between January and June wind turbines provided enough electricity to power the equivalent of 4.47million homes for those six months.

That is nearly twice the number of homes in Scotland.

“These are amazing figures, Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead. Up and down the country, we are all benefitting from cleaner energy and so is the climate,” said Robin Parker, climate and energy policy manager at the WWF.

“These figures show harnessing Scotland’s plentiful onshore wind potential can provide clean green electricity for millions of homes across not only Scotland, but England as well.”

He added: “It’s about time the UK government stepped up and gave Scottish onshore wind a route to market.”

Alex Wilcox Brooke, weather energy project manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency said: “These figures really highlight the consistency of wind energy in Scotland and why it now plays a major part in the UK energy market.”

The figures released come hot on the heels of the UK enjoying the longest ever period without coal power.

Last year Scottish Power became the first major UK energy firm to completely drop fossil fuels in favour of wind power, after selling off its remaining gas and hydro stations to Drax for £702m.

The company said it planned to invest £5.2bn over four years to more than double its renewable capacity.

But there remain concerns the sector is not producing as much domestic employment as it could, with opportunities to build a supply chain in the UK being missed.

In April, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said more needed to be done to create employment in the renewable energy sector after a Scottish Trades Union Congress report found a drop in the number of jobs in the onshore wind sector, with the total down by 400 between 2014 and 2017.

The report found the number directly employed in the onshore wind sector in Scotland slumped from 2,700 in 2014 to 2,300 in 2017, despite an increase in wind farms.

Last year it emerged two-thirds of British people think the UK government should ditch the policies that have all but killed off the UK’s onshore wind industry.

Since the rules governing the construction of onshore turbines were introduced following the election in 2015, planning applications for new wind farms plummeted by 94 per cent.

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