WWF calls on Scottish Government to deliver strategy for securing half of Scotland’s energy needs from renewables.
Scotland enjoyed enough May sunshine to meet almost all the electricity and hot water needs of its households fitted with solar panels, analysis by environmental group WWF Scotland has found.
Over 40,000 homes and 850 business premises currently have PV arrays installed north of the border, according to WWF Scotland.
And, based on last month’s renewable energy data provided byWeatherEnergy, WWF estimates Scotland has enough sunshine to potentially generate 100 per cent of the electricity needs of an average solar PV-fitted household in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
For those Scottish homes fitted with solar hot water panels, meanwhile, WWF estimates there was enough solar energy in May to power 100 per cent of an average household’s hot water needs in Aberdeen, as well as 98 per cent in Inverness, 97 per cent in Edinburgh and 94 per cent in Glasgow.
WWF’s analysis also focused on wind power, revealing turbines north of the border generated more than a third of Scotland’s electricity needs last month, producing enough electricity to supply 100 per cent or more of Scottish homes on ten out of 31 days in May.
Overall, Scottish wind turbines provided 692,896MWh of electricity to the National Grid in May, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 76 per cent of Scotland’s 1.8 million households, the analysis found.
In light of the findings and ahead of the Scottish government’s forthcoming energy strategy review, WWF today called on ministers to set out plans that would secure half of Scotland’s entire energy needs from renewables.
“These figures underline the fantastic progress Scotland has made on harnessing renewables, especially to generate electricity,” said WWF Scotland director Lang Banks. “However, with less than 13 per cent of our total energy needs coming from renewable sources, it’s now time to widen our attention on de-carbonising our economy beyond just our power sector.
“That’s why the forthcoming review of Scotland’s energy strategy must set a target of meeting at least half of all our energy needs from renewables by 2030. In the same way ministers helped drive forward progress in renewable electricity through targets, setting higher ambition for covering all of our energy needs would help give clarity about the transition and the greater certainty to investors.”
Renewable energy continues to flourish in Scotland, where solar capacity grew by over a quarter in 2015, from 140MW to 179MW, while figures for January 2016 showed wind power met half of Scotland’s electricity needs that month.
Karen Robinson, energy advisor at renewables data provider WeatherEnergy, said the country was fast emerging as a clean energy hub. “It’s clear that when it comes to generating clean power Scotland is one country others are already watching closely,” she said. “Imagine what a global leadership role Scotland could play if it now followed up its success on renewable electricity with steps to green its entire energy system.”
The latest figures came in the same week as an analysis from the Carbon Brief websiterevealed that across the UK solar generated more power last month than coal for the first time.