Following a record final month, 2015 proved to be a “huge year” for wind power in Scotland, with wind turbines providing enough electricity to meet the electrical needs of 97% of Scottish households, according to the data gathered by WeatherEnergy and analyzed by WWF Scotland.
Wind turbines generated a record 10,392,439MWh of electricity in 2015, 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 with 1,352,399MWh of generated electricity, and January with 1,307,629MWh of wind-generated power.
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, 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.
“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,” WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said.
“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.”
Scotland currently has 197 MW of operational offshore wind, including a pioneering deep-water site – the Beatrice Offshore Wind Demonstrator in the Moray Firth.
The Scottish Government has granted offshore planning consent for over 4GW of new projects including the Beatrice Offshore Wind Ltd and Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd sites in the Moray Firth which have a combined consented capacity of 1.86 GW and the Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape and SeaGreen Alpha & Bravo sites in the Firth of Forth which have a combined consented capacity of over 2.5 GW.
Scotland, estimated to have 25% of Europe’s total offshore wind resource, also has plans for floating offshore wind developments and has test and demonstrations sites at Aberdeen Bay, Hunterston and Methil.