Environmental group WWF Scotland confirmed that on August 7, 2016, wind power alone generated 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs for a single day. This shows that with more development, renewables are capable of eventually replacing fossil fuels. “While it’s not impossible that this has happened in the past, it’s certainly the first time since we began monitoring the data in 2015 that we’ve had all the relevant information to be able to confirm it,” says WWF Scotland director Lang Banks.
This event was possible due to the gale-force winds Scotland had just experienced. But the fact that the country was able to achieve this feat in the first place goes to show that renewable energy is capable of eventually replacing fossil fuels. The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” weather warning covering much of the country as wind speeds reached 115mph on the top of the Cairngorms and gusts of more than 60mph hit towns in the north. The bad weather brought travel disruption, with some bridges closed, ferries cancelled and trains affected, but helped boost the country’s production of renewable energy.
Turbines in Scotland provided 39,545 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid on a Sunday, while the country’s total power consumption for homes, business and industry was 37,202 MWh – meaning wind power generated 106% of Scotland’s electricity needs.
Scotland joins a select group of countries that have had peak moments (or days/months) when their electricity needs came from non-polluting renewable energy. Iceland runs completely on hydroelectric and geothermal, Costa Rica managed 75 straight days in 2015, Portugal had four days, Denmark generated 140% of their demand, Germany broke 95% for a few moments and there are many other countries with wonderful clean energy achievements.
“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. However, if we want to ensure we reap the many benefits of becoming a low carbon economy, we need to see this political support for renewables continue.” says Lang Banks.
Photo: The Guardian