Scotland has been long been known for its notoriously fickle weather. The classic Crowded House song “Four Seasons in one Day” could easily have been written following a brief trip to scenic Northern European country.
However this year Scotland has been putting its changeable climate to good use.
On August 11th it was hit with high winds of up to 185 km per hour. Thanks to its investment in renewable energies, and specifically wind farms they were able to harness the energy from the winds, and produce more electricity through said farms than the entire nation consumed on the same day.
This was the first time in existence that a country has been able to produce more energy in a day through renewable means than it consumed.
The wind turbine provided 39,545 megawatt-hours (Mwh) of electricity to the National Grid on that day, while total power consumption, for homes business and industry, was 37,202 (Mwh) ensuring that wind power produced 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs.
While the high winds may have caused annoyance to the Scottish residents and confusion to holidaymakers checking to see that it was still summer, the high winds and way in which they are being utilized could see a boon for the Scottish economy.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks explained:
“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.”
Governments around the world are all investing in ‘clean energy’ in a bid to reduce our need for fossil fuels. It is estimated that the global revenue over the next five is £35 billion so this is a market can provide great opportunities for Scottish companies.
The Scottish government has been a long term investor in wind farms which are dotted all over the country’s landscape, both onshore and offshore.
They have set a target of generating 50% of Scotland’s electricity from renewable energy for 2015 and 100% by 2020. The vast majority is likely to come from wind power.
It is estimated that in Scotland there is the potential of 11.5 GW (giga watts) of onshore wind energy, which could provide about 45 Twh of energy. Offshore energy potential is even greater, with the opportunity for some 25GW.
Admittedly the costs to provide that are currently more expensive but there is the potential to provide half the energy used in Scotland simply through offshore wind farms.
Scotland is not alone in pushing forward the wind energy market. Its fellow Northern European neighbours Denmark in 2015 produced more than 42% of its electricity for the entire year through wind power alone.
A Norwegian company is also set to build the world’s biggest floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland. The energy company Statoil plan to build the farm 25km off Scotland’s easternmost point. The farm’s five giant floating turbines will generate enough power to power 20,000 homes.
With attempts worldwide to find new alternative ways to produce energy and reduce our use of fossil fuels.The people of Scotland seem to have found a successful method through something which for them wont be running out any time soon; wind.