The government of Scotland recently announced that in the first six months of 2019, it was able to generate enough electricity to power roughly 4.5 million homes using wind turbine technology. This is especially notable because there are only a little over 2 million homes in all of Scotland! This exciting news comes on the heels of an announcement from the Scottish government that their goal is to produce half of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030. Scotland is also targeting an energy system that is completely carbon-free by 2050.
Robin Parker, Climate and Energy Policy Manager for the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Scotland was quoted as saying: “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.”
Wind power is the fastest growing form of green technology in Scotland. Given the extremely high average wind speeds found there, it stands to reason. At the end of 2018, Scotland was recorded as having just under 8,500 MW of installed wind power capacity. Most of this capacity was from onshore wind, but that trend might be changing. Several additional offshore wind generators are planned for the future including a floating wind farm that will be located 15 miles from the nearest land.
The advancements in wind technology have not come without controversy. Concerns over natural landscapes and the effects that turbines have on migratory and native birds have been raised. Still, recent surveys have shown that the vast majority of Scots prefer wind power over alternative forms of power generation such as nuclear or shale. Hydroelectric is the most popular energy source in Scotland, with roughly 80% of the population being in favor.
Scotland’s unique location makes it the ideal place for consistent wind-generated power. Located near the frigid waters of the Irish Sea, the wind farms on the north and western coasts of Scotland have managed to consistently provide an average capacity factor of 31% or more. This is in comparison to 25% for most other European Union wind farms.
Europe has been quite ambitious as a whole with various wind energy projects. According to Benj Sykes, Vice President of DONG Energy Wind Power, “A single rotation of an 8-megawatt turbine will cover the daily electricity consumption of an average British household.” While this fact is certainly impressive, it should also be noted that a turbine of this size has a rotor diameter of 538 ft and weighs approximately 35 tons. As wonderful as the benefits of wind power may be, the sheer size of the turbines needed to generate electricity from wind can be an eyesore.
What do our readers think? Anyone out there have giant wind turbines near them? Is wind power the future of renewable energy or will residents ultimately reject this technology because of its negative effects on local landscapes and wildlife? Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.
Source | Image: Wikimedia Commons