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Seeing countless renewable energy records broken and milestones passed has been a constant source of encouraging news for our planet. Now, we have yet another impressive stat to celebrate: in the first half of 2019, Scotland generated enough energy from wind power to supply its homes twice over.
Specifically, turbines generated 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity between January and June, enough to supply power to 4.47 million homes – not bad for a country that has around 2.6 million homes to its name.
It’s a record high for wind energy in Scotland, and it means the turbines could have provided enough electricity for every dwelling in Scotland, plus much of northern England as well, for the first six months of the year.
March was the high watermark, with 2,194,981 MWh of output produced in the month.
“These are amazing figures, Scotland’s wind energy revolution is clearly continuing to power ahead,” says Robin Parker, the Climate & Energy Policy Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). “Up and down the country, we are all benefiting from cleaner energy and so is the climate.”
“These figures show harnessing Scotland’s plentiful onshore wind potential can provide clean green electricity for millions of homes across not only Scotland, but England as well.”
The UK as a whole is on a roll as far as renewable energy is concerned, because it just managed its longest stretch without relying on coal power since the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
Coal power stations didn’t supply any energy to the grid for seven days in a row, according to the National Grid in the UK – a total of 167 consecutive hours. Gas turbines, nuclear power, solar energy and other renewables all played a part.
That’s in line with the UK government’s target to do without coal completely by 2025, and it looks as though Scotland could have a big part to play in reaching that goal.
Other countries are also benefiting from the increasing potential of renewables. Germany is another nation where renewable energy production has exceeded demand, thanks to heavy investment in wind and solar.
Then there’s the Qinghai Province in northwest China – home to some 5 million citizens – which has been running for weeks at a time on renewable energy, using sources including solar, wind and hydro power.
This rapid improvement is down to both increased capacity and more efficient technology, as scientists figure out ways to generate more electricity from the same amount of sunshine or wind.
Scotland is something of a pioneer when it comes to wind power, with onshore and offshore farms now at a capacity of 8,423 MW as of December 2018. The country is hoping to supply all of its energy from renewables within the next 12 months, a target it’s on course to meet.
“These figures really highlight the consistency of wind energy in Scotland and why it now plays a major part in the UK energy market,” says Alex Wilcox Brooke, Weather Energy Project Manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency.