February saw the region’s wind turbines producing 1,331,420MWh of electricity, enough to supply the needs of 162 percent of Scottish households (3.9 million homes).
The figures, provided by WeatherEnergyUK and analysed by WWF Scotland, represent an increase of 43 percent over February 2016 – also a record month for the nation’s wind sector – when wind supplied 929,417MWh.
Scotland’s entire electricity consumption last month, including homes, businesses and industry, totaled 1,984,765MWh – meaning wind power contributed a whopping 67 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
And high winds meant that on four separate days, Scotland’s wind turbines generated output equivalent to more than the nation’s total energy needs for each entire day:
- Thursday 7th – 78,512 MWh, equivalent to 118 percent electricity
- Monday 13th – 78,936 MWh, equivalent 110 percent electricity
- Monday 20th – 67,213 MWh, equivalent 127 percent electricity
- Sunday 26th – 70,611 MWh, equivalent to 128 percent electricity.
“Compared to last year, some very powerful winds across the month helped increase the total electricity supplied to the National Grid from Scotland’s wind turbines,” said Karen Robinson from WeatherEnergy.
“As we began to witness for the first time last year, this February has also seen a few days where the power output from wind farms exceeded the total electricity demand for an entire day. This is quite an achievement.”
WWF noted that the highest wind output was on the 13th of February, when generation spiked at nearly 79,000 MWh, enough to power 6.5 million Scottish homes. This is more than one-and-a-half times the number of households in the nation.
“Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines was up more than two-fifths compared to the same period last year,” said WWF Scotland Director Lang Banks.
“This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of almost four million homes. As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and helps Scotland to avoid over a million tonnes of polluting carbon emissions every month.”
The environmental group hopes the figures will inform the government on the vital role wind power has in the future of Scotland’s energy mix as Holyrood seeks consultations on its latest draft energy plan.
“Every one of the main political parties supports the aim of generating half of all Scotland’s energy needs from renewables by 2030 – including heat, electricity and transport,” Banks said.
“With this level of political backing, we call upon all of the parties to now bring forward policies that will help maximise the benefits to Scotland’s economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”
The figures come at an important time – Scottish Renewables says businesses working in the region’s renewable energy sector are forecasting a sixth of their workforce will be lost within the next year. The group says this is due to changes to and closures of support schemes.