Renewable Energy in Scotland Generated Enough Electricity to Power 100 Percent of Residential Needs for October
With Scotland already a leader in renewable energy, news about the sector’s high performance just seems like icing on the cake. However, this is quite the accomplishment.
In October, the renewable energy sector generated more than enough electricity to power all of residential needs in Scotland.
In figure published by WWF Scotland, wind came out on top as the big winner generating 982,842 MWh of electricity. This is enough to power 3,045,000 homes in the UK and equivalent to 126 percent of the energy needs for residences within Scotland. Solar was also a critical component of the renewables landscape, as both PV and hot water panels met roughly 30 to 50 percent of electricity needs for homes in all of Scotland’s major cities.
“While nuclear power plants were being forced to shut because of cracks, Scotland’s wind and sunshine were quietly and cleanly helping to keep the lights on in homes across the country,” WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said. “With wind power generating enough electricity to power 126% of the needs of every home in Scotland, it really was a bumper month for renewables in Scotland.”
Banks also noted the importance of the solar sector, despite Scotland being a country known for its cloudy weather.
“Summer may be a distant memory, but for the tens of thousands of Scottish households that have installed solar panels to generate electricity or heat water, a third or more of their needs were met from the sun this October, helping reduce their reliance on coal, gas, or even oil,” he said.
This news follows years of renewable energy growth in Scotland, though this is the biggest milestone the county has seen.
“According to figures provided by Scottish Renewables, Scottish renewable energy capacity has grown at an average of 660 MW per year since the end of 2007,” writes CleanTechnica’s Joshua S. Hill. “Unsurprisingly, given the locale and technological prowess of the country, wind is a big factor in the country’s energy mix. Totalling over 7 GW, the sector has more than doubled since the end of 2007, thanks to big pushes by wind and hydro.”
Hill also notes the 13 GW of projects in the pipeline for Scotland.
“The science is clear, if we are to prevent the worst impacts of global climate change, then the world needs to move away from fossil fuels,” Banks said. “The good news is that here in Scotland we’re making good use of wind power to create clean electricity. However, if Scotland is going to meet its future climate change targets, then we need to see greater support for energy efficiency and renewable heat, as well as action to curb emissions from transport.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.