It’s a landmark day, in which Scotland managed to generate enough electricity through wind power to cover all its electricity demand.

The wind turbines at Findhorn, part of an Ecovillage which is a net exporter of electricity. Photo by W. L. Tarbert.

High winds and a low demand on a Sunday allowed Scottish windmills to generate 106% of the country’s electricity demand through wind alone. Turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid on Sunday while the country’s total power consumption for homes, business and industry was 37,202 MWh.

For some of the country, this wasn’t necessarily good news because the strong winds brought significant disruption to the country’s flights and prevented swimming in most areas (if anyone was willing to brave Scotland’s chilling waters). But WWF Scotland director Lang Banks was thrilled, noting:

“While Sunday’s weather caused disruption for many people, it also proved to be a good day for wind power output, with wind turbines alone providing the equivalent of all Scotland’s total electricity needs.”

He also emphasized the importance of the political support in this achievement, as well as the necessity for future political support:

“This major moment was made possible thanks in part to many years of political support, which means that across the year now renewables contribute well over half of our electricity needs. However, if we want to ensure we reap the many benefits of becoming a low carbon economy, we need to see this political support for renewables continue.”

“We also need the Scottish government’s forthcoming energy strategy to set a goal of securing half of all of our energy, across electricity, heat and transport, from renewables by 2030.”

Renewable energy (and in the UK, especially wind), is becoming cheaper and cheaper – competing directly with fossil fuels. According to a new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) last year, wind power generates the cheapest electricity in both the UK and Germany.

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The potential of Scottish renewable energy is enormous by all standards. The country has certainly become one of the main players in the European and global market. In 2012, over 40 per cent of Scotland’s electricity came from renewable energy, and Scotland contributed almost 40 per cent of the UK’s renewables output. That figure has only increased since and will hopefully continue to increase.

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