late dusk shot over windfarm at loch greshornish on isle of skye scotland

Scottish government ramps up plans for wind power

Living in a windswept part of the world can have its advantages. For Scotland, it means being one of the prime spots for harnessing wind power.

When looking at how the UK harnesses the power of the wind, it’s clear for all to see that Scotland is leading the way. Energy comparison site The Switch estimates that, over a six-month period in 2017, a handful of Scottish windfarms managed to generate 6.6 million megawatt hours of power – sent straight to the National Grid.

That’s enough energy to power as many as three million homes in Scotland – impressive, considering there are just 2.6 million homes in Scotland to begin with. So that’s enough energy to meet the needs for all homes and then some.

But it doesn’t end there – the Scottish Government wants to ramp up Scotland’s wind power capacity significantly by 2030.

The Scottish Government is determined to drive a green economic recovery with investment in renewable energy at the heart of it. We want to harness Scotland’s enviable wind resource for our energy system and unlock significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector.

– Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Energy Minister

Winds of change in Scotland

Last week, the Scottish Government unveiled its ambitions to raise offshore wind capacity in Scottish windfarms to as high as 11 gigawatts (GW) of energy by 2030 – this would generate enough power to power eight million homes in total.

As of April 2020, it was estimated that offshore wind amounted to just 1 GW, indicating the government’s plans will mean significant investment in wind turbine activity off the Scottish coast. Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Energy Minister, explained:

“The Scottish Government is determined to drive a green economic recovery with investment in renewable energy at the heart of it. We want to harness Scotland’s enviable wind resource for our energy system and unlock significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector.”

The plans are to go ahead, following what the government described as extensive consultations, bearing the impact on the local marine environment in mind especially.

Strong tailwinds for wind power

In 2019, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) published a report on the global wind industry, finding some promising developments afoot. By 2019, they estimated that 60.4 GW of capacity had been installed worldwide, taking the world’s total wind energy capacity to a whopping 651 GW. This represented growth of 10 per cent on the previous year.

China and the US, as the world’s leading economies, are the top two countries in this energy sector, harnessing 60 per cent of the world’s wind power capacity. GWEC expects COVID-19 to have some impact on further growth, but forecasts that global capacity would rise by another 76 GW by the end of 2020.

The UK is ideally-placed to generate substantial quantities of wind power, and this source of energy currently represents 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity generation, as of 2019. In terms of more sustainability, wind represents 54 per cent of the UK’s renewable sources of energy. The developments in Scotland will no doubt do much to significantly increase this share in the coming decade.

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