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2015 'a huge year for renewables' in Scotland

2015 'a huge year for renewables' in Scotland

2015 'a huge year for renewables' in Scotland

Scotland's renewable energy sector experienced a "huge year" in 2015, according to an influential environmental charity.

WWF Scotland analysed data from WeatherEnergy and found that, during the month of December alone, wind turbines delivered over 1.35 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid.

That's enough for some 3.59 million homes and would comfortably meet the electricity needs of all the households in Scotland.

The record figure is also six per cent higher than the 1.28 million MWh delivered by wind turbines in December 2014.

Wind power was also a highly consistent contributor to Scotland's renewable energy mix in December 2015, providing enough electricity to supply more than 100 per cent of households on 29 of the 31 days in the month.

When homes, businesses and industry were all taken into account, the country's total electricity consumption last month was just over 2.16 million MWh, meaning wind power had the potential to meet nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of total demand.

Throughout the entire year, Scottish wind turbines generated a record 10.39 million MWh of electricity for the National Grid, which would be sufficient to supply 2.34 million homes, or 97 per cent of Scottish households.

The sector's annual output last year was 16 per cent higher than the previous year's figure of 8.97 million MWh.

WWF Scotland also analysed WeatherEnergy data on solar power, revealing that properties fitted with photovoltaic panels in April and May 2015 saw enough sunshine in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to meet all the electricity needs of an average home.

In March, June, July, August and September, solar panels provided enough power to serve at least half of all homes in the same cities.

There were similar figures relating to solar-powered hot water systems.

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said there can be no doubt that 2015 was a "huge year" for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping to avoid millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

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

In light of expectations for more widespread use of low-carbon energy sources in the wake of the Paris climate talks, Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy pointed out that renewables are "already playing a major and increasing role in Scotland's, and the rest of the UK's, overall energy mix".

She added: "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."

Businesses can take their own positive steps towards sustainability by installing solar panels or upgrading their air conditioning, lighting and insulation products to more efficient models.

 

Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of Liquid Library