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Scotland sets two wind power records

Scotland set two new wind power records at the end of December, according to data released by WWF Scotland.

 Analysis by the environmental group of data provided by WeatherEnergy found that wind turbines in Scotland generated power equivalent to all of the nation’s electricity needs for a record four straight days – on 23, 24, 25, and 26 December.

Although wind turbines have previously generated more power than needed in a single day in Scotland, this is the first time that such has been recorded on consecutive days.

The same four-day period also saw a new record set for the most amount of wind-generated power in a single day – on Christmas Eve – with 74,042MWh of electricity sent to the National Grid.

As total electricity demand on Christmas Eve was 56,089MWh it meant that wind turbines generated the equivalent of 132% of Scotland’s total electricity needs that day, according to the analysis.

However, the proportion of Scotland’s total power needs that could have been met by wind on Christmas Day was even greater - equivalent to 153% of total electricity demand. This was because, although output from wind turbines on Christmas Day was slightly less that generated on Christmas Eve at 70,002Mh, total electricity demand was also much lower at 45,756MWh.

DatePower sent to the National Grid by wind turbines in Scotland (MWh)Total power demand in Scotland (MWh) % of Scotland’s total power needs met by wind
23 December68,60457,431 119%
24 December74,04256,089132%
25 December70,00245,756153%
26 December66,48050,419132%

Figure 1. Wind power usage during 4 consecutive days of December.

WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said: “These are two spectacular achievements, which underline the massive progress Scotland is making in securing an ever increasing proportion of its electricity needs from wind power and other clean renewable sources. Scotland can be proud that its record-breaking wind power output at the end of December, and resulting export of excess electricity through interconnectors to England, greatly contributed to what also proved a record-breaking week for wind power across the entire UK.” 

Banks also went on to say that later this month the Scottish Government is expected to publish its new energy strategy. 

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: “It was only as recently as August 2016 that we first recorded a day where wind powered electricity generation exceeding demand. However, thanks to increasing levels of renewables capacity and improved energy efficiency reducing power demand, we’re starting to see more and more such days.”

She continued, “Given these figures, now is the time for serious consideration to be given to using more of this excess renewable electricity to help de-carbonise other areas of society, such as powering electric vehicles or heating our homes and businesses using non-fossil fuel technologies.”

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Energy efficiency  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power