Wind power could supply 97% of homes after record-breaking year

Energy provided by wind power up 16% last year with 10,392,439 MWh supplied to the national grid.

Wind power: December was a record-breaking month in Scotland.
Wind power: December was a record-breaking month in Scotland. © STV

Wind power output hit record levels last year, generating enough energy to supply the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish homes.

Turbines provided 10,392,439 MWh of electricity to the national grid, enough on average to supply 2.34 million homes, up 16% compared to the previous year.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that in six out of 12 months, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100% of Scottish household needs.

With business and industry factored in, wind power generated the equivalent of 41% of Scotland's entire electricity needs for the year.

For homes fitted with solar PV panels, there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate an estimated 100% or more of the electricity needs of an average home during April and May.

In December wind turbines generated enough power to supply more than 100% of Scottish households on 29 out of 31 days.

During the month, around 1,352,399 MWh of electricity was provided to the national grid, enough on average for the electrical needs of 148% of Scottish households.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "Without doubt, 2015 was a huge year for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon emissions were avoided.

"With 2016 being a critical year politically, we'd like to see each of the political parties back policies that would enable Scotland become the EU's first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

"December will be rightly remembered for the damage done by the extreme weather, so it won't surprise many to learn it also turned out to be a record-breaking month for wind power output.

"For 2015 as a whole, thanks to an increase in installed capacity, overall wind power output broke all previous records and was up by almost a fifth year-on-year."

Karen Robinson, from WeatherEnergy, said: "Following the recent Paris climate talks where there were calls for greater use of low-carbon energy sources, the data show that renewables are already playing a major and increasing role in Scotland's, and the rest of the UK's, overall energy mix.

"Despite misconceptions, Scotland also has massive potential for using solar power too. The data clearly shows that there's plenty of sunshine to meet a significant proportion of an average family's electricity needs for the majority of months of the year."

Energy minister Fergus Ewing said: "Scotland's renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do.

"Renewables are now Scotland's biggest electricity generator with nearly half of gross electricity consumption coming from renewables.

"Despite damaging policy changes from the UK Government, we will continue to harness, and bolster, Scotland's renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure."

Scottish Labour's environmental justice spokeswoman Sarah Boyack MSP said: "We urgently need more support for householders and businesses to get on and install solar systems to produce heat and electricity. 

"But there's also an important role for community and local authority projects so that we also address energy efficiency and eliminate fuel poverty. 

"We need leadership and a commitment to investment from the SNP government."

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