In 2019, Scottish wind turbines produced almost twice the amount of electricity needed to power every household in Scotland. Between January and July 2019, it achieved 9,831,320 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy.
Robin Parker, WWF Scotland's Climate and Energy Policy Manager says, “These are amazing figures, Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead. Up and down the country, we are all benefitting from cleaner energy and so is the climate."
And in 2020, Scotland is set to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources including wind and solar power. Scotland has only 1% of Europe’s population but it contains 25% of the continent’s offshore windfarms. It’s also considered a “world leader” on renewable energy, so how is Scotland doing it?
Scotland’s Response to a Climate Emergency
The UK Government declared a climate emergency in June 2019 with the target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Scotland went one step further by announcing that it intends to achieve that target by 2045. Speaking at The Citizen’s Assembly in Dublin, Professor Andy Kerr believes that Scotland has shown that ‘there is no longer a choice between environment and economy.’
Professor Kerr went on to tell ITV "The Scottish Government has seen renewables and climate action as an economic opportunity rather than just an environmental thing that had to be done."
Cross-party support in Parliament has allowed Scotland to pitch for a 42% reduction on carbon dioxide emissions. Something that’s both ambitious and heartening. At a time when some of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters – the USA and Russia, for example – are walking away from international agreements, it’s good to see politicians facing up to the uncomfortable truths about global warming including the environmental, economic and social impact that climate change is likely to have on the UK.
How Scotland are Generating Renewable Power
In 2016, Scotland closed its last coal-burning power station and has since invested heavily in renewable energy including wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass and wave power. Scotland’s largest clean-energy generator is The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm, opened in 2019 and located 8-miles off the Wick coast, it can generate enough electricity to power 450,000 homes.
There’s the Hywind floating windfarm, too, just off the coast of Peterhead and ‘operating at levels consistently above that of its seabound offshore brethren’, according to project developer Equinor. Winds tend to be stronger and more consistent when placed further out to sea and in deeper waters. From November 2018 until January 2019, surviving a number of hurricane swells, Hywind generated enough clean energy to supply 20,000 Scottish homes.
In 2019, Sea Green Phase 1 was announced. This will see the UK’s largest off-shore windfarm built 16 miles off Angus on the Scottish coast and will provide enough electricity to power 40,000 Scottish homes from 2024.
Renewable Energy in Scotland Beyond 2020
Scotland’s renewable energy industry is growing, but it’s Westminster that could hold the UK back from achieving its 2045 and 2050 goals. In 2016, David Cameron’s Government ended grants for new offshore wind turbines. Without the financial incentive to build more farms, investment has declined by 95%. ScottishPower are hopeful, however, that in light of the Governments ‘state of emergency’ a U-turn could be imminent and the company is now preparing for a ‘major expansion’ of onshore windfarms’.
Using renewable energy to power homes is only one aspect to this plan; decarbonising transport and heating sectors is likely to be more difficult but the Scottish Government believes it can rise to the challenge.
An Alternative Renewable Energy Source
Scotland’s first wind turbine was built in 2006 and less than 15 years later, the country is about to start generating 100% of its electricity from wind power. All it took was some modern thinking and some modern engineering.
Scotland has come a long way on renewable power since that first turbine in 2006. In a climate emergency, it’s important for every country, business and person start moving towards renewable energy sources.
It's why Energym has designed and developed an electricity-generating indoor bike for the home. And the RE:GEN Studio for commercial gyms.