Renewable Energy Sees Rapid Growth In Scotland

Scotland is one of the leading countries in the United Kingdom when it comes to generating renewable energy. An extraordinary month of May with high winds and sunny skies saw them fulfill their electricity needs for a third of the month.


Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:41 p.m. ET

Scotland was able to produce enough energy from renewable resources to fulfill their requirements for over a third of May. Generation from wind turbines grew rapidly in just a one-year comparison in the area. There’s also been enough sunlight for multiple homes to generate over 100 percent of electricity that was required.

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Wind power generation reached over 863,000 megawatt hours in the month of May, which is over 170,000 megawatt hours from the previous total in 2016. That total meets up to 46 percent of Scotland’s requirements for electricity. When it comes to looking at homes, Scotland’s World Wildlife Fund believes it’s enough to supply 95 percent of the population.

The northernmost country in the United Kingdom benefits from frequent windy conditions. Last year on August 7th, an abnormally windy day ended up generating more energy than all of Scotland needed. May 15th was the most recent day where it nearly met the country’s total demand for electricity.

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Solar energy also rose significantly thanks to above-average sunshine throughout Scotland. The WWF also reported that solar panels installed on homes in places like Lerwick and the Shetland Islands “generated 114 percent of an average household electricity demand.” That was the record in the given month, with many other places getting past the century mark. Back on May 26th, all of the UK broke the record for solar power that was previously set just three weeks prior.

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By itself, wind energy is nearing Scotland’s new goal of having 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the country’s commitment by announcing the investment of 43 million pounds (over $55.5 million) in funding for low-carbon infrastructure projects on May 10th at Glasgow’s All Energy Conference.

Earlier this year, the country’s government had to push back their lofty expectations to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. That doesn’t mean Scotland has been missing the mark. Sturgeon said at the conference that the country “has some of the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world. Over the past 10 years, our pattern of energy consumption has changed considerably, helping us to meet -- and exceed -- our 2020 target for reducing energy consumption, six years early.”

Part of it is due to the offshore wind farms taking longer to build. However, a report by Severin Carrell of The Guardian shows that costs for manufacturing these farms has fallen by “32 percent since 2012.” That could mean that 87 percent of Scotland will be fueled by renewable sources by the old goal of 2020.


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