This weekend, Scotland generated more than 100% of its electrical needs from wind turbines. That’s great news. But there’s more. The cost of wind power is now equivalent to the cost of making electricity from natural gas. Hello? Which would you prefer, people? Electricity that generates no carbon emissions or electricity that costs the same but spews billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? Gee, let me think about that.
There is an asterisk that goes along with this record. Over the weekend, Scotland experienced a spate of severe weather that caused travel disruptions, with bridges closed and ferries and trains canceled. Wind speeds as high as 185 kph were recorded. That’s more than 100 mph for those who are math challenged. Still, an entire nation meeting all its power needs from renewable sources is news, whatever the weather.
Lang Banks, Scotland director for the World Wildlife Fund, says, “While Sunday’s weather caused disruption for many people, it also proved to be a good day for wind power output, with wind turbines alone providing the equivalent of all Scotland’s total electricity needs.”
He went on to laud the political leadership of Scotland’s politicians. “This major moment was made possible thanks in part to many years of political support, which means that across the year now, renewables will 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. We also need the Scottish government’s forthcoming energy strategy to set a goal of securing half of all of our energy, across electricity, heat and transport, from renewables by 2030.”
If only the US Congress was invested in promoting such forward looking policies instead of slavishly parroting the messages they are paid to say by their fossil fuel industry paymasters.
According to figures supplied by WeatherEnergy and analyzed by WWF Scotland, Scotland consumed about 37,202 megawatt-hours of energy — including all domestic, business, and industry — while wind turbines churned up 39,545 megawatt-hours of power. This means the turbines were able to cover 106 percent of Scotland’s electricity needs.
Scotland isn’t done. The country plans to build the world’s largest floating wind farm, called Hywind, 25 kilometers off Scotland’s easternmost point. That project will be built by Norwegian energy company Statoil. Congratulations to Scotland for showing the rest of the world that renewable energy is the way of the future.
Source and photo credit: Collective Evolution