Following a record final month, 2015 proved to be a “huge year” for wind and solar power in Scotland, new figures published today reveal. Commenting on the data, WWF Scotland’s 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.
Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that for the month of December:
– Wind turbines alone provided around 1,352,399MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 148% of Scottish households. That’s enough for 3.59 million homes – and a record for 2015 – representing an increase of 6% compared to December 2014, when wind energy provided 1,279,150MWh.
– Wind turbines generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish households on 29 out of the 31 days of December.
– Scotland’s total electricity consumption (i.e. including homes, business and industry) for December was 2,163,337MWh. Wind power therefore generated the equivalent of 63% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.
When looking at data for the whole of 2015:
– Wind turbines provided a record 10,392,439MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish households, or 2.34 million homes – this represents an increase of 16% compared to that of 2014, when wind energy provided 8,967,227MWh.
– The top two months for wind power output were December (1,352,399MWh = 3.59m homes = 148% of Scottish households) and January (1,307,629MWh= 3.5m homes = 146% of Scottish households).
– The bottom two months for wind power output were September (563,835MWh = 1.5m homes = 64% of Scottish households) and October (652,342MWh = 1.66m homes = 69% of Scottish households).
– Wind generated enough power to supply over 100% of Scottish household needs during six out of the 12 months – January, February, March, May, November, and December.
– Scotland’s total electricity consumption (i.e. including homes, business and industry) for 2015 was 25,161,916MWh. Wind power therefore generated the equivalent of 41% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the year.
– For homes fitted with solar PV panels, during April and May 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, and 50% or more in the same four cities during March, June, July, August, and September.
– For homes fitted with solar hot water panels, in May there was enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to generate an estimated 100% of the hot water needs of an average home, and 50% or more in the same four cities during March, April, June, July, August, and August.
WWF Scotland’s director Banks added: “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.
“On average, across 2015, wind power generated enough to supply the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish households, with six months where the amount was greater than 100%. And, in the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have installed solar panels, half or more of their electricity or hot water needs were met from the sun for the most of the year, helping those homes to reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or oil.”
Karen Robinson of 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. With hundreds of thousands of household roofs, it would not take much to tap more of the sun’s power.”