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Environment

98% of Scotland's Electricity Demand Was Met by Wind Power in October


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As winter approaches, driving winds are the source of much resentment in the UK. But is that all about to change?

An analysis released this week has suggested wind power met 98% of Scotland’s energy demand in the month of October, and exceeded national demand on 16 out of 31 days.

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On Oct. 23, the power output from wind turbines was at 105,900.94 MWh — a whirling 234% of that day’s demand. 

Oct. 18 was the worst day for wind over the course of the month, but turbines still generated enough electricity to power 62% of Scottish households, or 18,377.71MWh, according to WeatherEnergy, part of the European EnergizAIR project.

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director at WWF Scotland, who shared the analysis, said: “What a month October proved to be ... These figures clearly show wind is working — it’s helping reduce our emissions and is the lowest cost form of new power generation.”  

“It’s also popular, with a recent survey also showing more and more people support turbines in rural areas,” he added.

A poll on wind energy released on Oct. 18 showed 66% of Scots backed onshore wind power — which far outstrips offshore wind power in Scotland — and was opposed by only 11% of respondents.

Read More: Wind Energy Powered All of Scotland’s Households for Six Months

Based on figures from the UK government's Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy published in 2016, the BBC found that onshore wind power was the cheapest renewable energy source — costing £63 per MWh, compared to £67 per MWh for solar and £106 per MWh for offshore wind.

Electricity from renewable sources reached a record 29.3% of total UK electricity generation in 2017, according to government statistics. Earlier this month, the Guardian reported that renewable energy capacity — meaning potential power output — outstripped that of fossil fuels in the UK for the first time.

Meanwhile, further government research showed coal production in the UK has fallen from around 147 million tonnes in 1970 to just 3 million tonnes in 2017. Coal accounted for just 6.7% of electricity generated in the UK last year.

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Alex Wilcox Brooke, weather energy project manager at Severn Wye Energy Agency — who partners with the UK to help the public better understand renewable energy — said: “October’s figures are a prime example of how reliable and consistent wind production can be, with production on 16 days outstripping national demand.”