September weather leads to surge in renewable energy

A mixture of long sunny days and high winds created a green energy boom across Scotland
Offshore windfarm.Offshore windfarm.
Offshore windfarm.

The Indian summer of September has led to a boom in renewable energy output in Scotland.

Long, bright spells combined with earlier days of high winds have pushed up rates of electricity production through solar panels and turbines, WWF Scotland claimed.

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The amount of electricity channelled to the National Grid by wind turbines in Scotland was 82 per cent higher in September than the same month last year, analysis by WWF Scotland and data company WeatherEnergy found.

September's unusual weather led to green energy boom. Picture: Ian RutherfordSeptember's unusual weather led to green energy boom. Picture: Ian Rutherford
September's unusual weather led to green energy boom. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The figures show that the grid took 563,835Mwh of power from Scotland’s windfarms over the 30 days in September 2015. This was up from 308,301Mwh in September 2014.

The output was enough to supply 100 per cent of Scottish homes on five out of September’s 30 days, it is claimed.

The rate was also enough to generate more than a quarter (28 per cent) of Scotland’s entire electricity needs created by homes, business and industry.

Wind generated enough output to supply 100 per cent or more of Scottish homes on five out of the 30 days of September.

Sunshine levels during September were enough to have homes fitted with solar PV panels generate an estimated 70 per cent or more of the electricity needs of an average household in Dundee, Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and 65 oer cent or more in Inverness and Aberdeen, WWF said.

Solar hot water panels generate 80 per cent or more of an average household’s hot water needs in Perth and Stirling, and 65% or more in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness or Aberdeen, analysis showed.

Lang Banks, director said: “We recently learned that during 2014 Scotland’s renewable energy sector helped us to avoid a record amount of carbon emissions.

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“Given the big jump in renewables output during September it’s very likely we’ll be breaking even more records this year. Thanks to a combination of increased capacity and stronger winds, output from turbines was up more than 80 per cent compared to the same period last year – supplying power equivalent to the electrical needs of one and a half million homes.”

Mr Banks highlighted however, that Scotland only 3 per of Scotland’s heating demand comes from hot water.

Heating accounts for 50 per cent of Scotland’s energy need, the vast majority being met by coal and gas.

He called for more work to be done introduce a Warm Homes Act to increase “clean and affordable” warmth to Scotland’s homes through district heating schemes and renewable heat.

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said: “Scotland has proved yet again that whatever the weather it’s still good news for renewable energy generation. The Indian summer at the end of the month wasn’t just a nice surprise; it also helped ensure that total solar power output across September remained high. As we move toward winter we can expect solar output to decline a little, but wind power output to begin to ramp up.”