A breakthrough in green energy production in Scotland was made earlier this month when electricity generated from Scotland’s wind turbines exceeded the daily electricity demand on 7 August, experts announced.
According to data collected by the conservation group WWF Scotland, stormy weather led the wind turbines to generate 106 per cent of the total amount of electricity used by every home and business in the country.
This translated to the production of 39,545 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to the National Grid for 24 hours whilst Scotland’s total electricity consumption on that day was 37,202 MWh.
Scotland has set a target of meeting 100 per cent of its electricity demand from renewable energy by 2020. Although experts qualify that less electricity is produced on weekends and during summer months, many still hail this event as an achievement in the long-term objective of making Scotland 100% green energy powered.
Speaking to The Student, Professor Markus Mueller, Head of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Energy Systems, discussed progress made in Scotland’s use of renewable energy.
Mueller stated: “Although the achievement on 7 August was for a short period of time, it shows that significant progress has been made.
“Increasing renewable capacity is only part of the story in order to meet the 2020 target. Renewable energy integration into the network has to be coordinated with electricity demand.”
Mueller emphasised the importance of support from the Scottish Government in a diverse range of renewable energy sources, some of which are yet to be fully explored as renewable energy options.
“The Scottish Government should continue to support technology development in this area, and work with stakeholders to develop a framework for a flexible demand-led electrical generation network.”
Particularly, Mueller mentioned marine energy technology as a new bed of research which could lead to even greater reliance on renewable energy resources for Scotland.
“Wave Energy Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government, will make a significant difference by developing component and sub-system technologies that can be used across the sector by developers of wave energy devices. This enables developers to focus on their devices and reduces risk across the sector,” he told The Student.
Within the University of Edinburgh, the School of Engineering supports the training of approximately 100 PhD students through the UK’s Industrial Doctoral Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy and Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems, as stated by a University spokesperson.
The School of Engineering’s Institute for Energy Systems (IES) is also focusing on advancing and integrating its renewable low-carbon energy technology into the power network on campus.
Moreover, the city is working with world-class facilities and technology companies such as FlowWave, a wave and current simulator, to explore Scotland’s marine energy potential.
Following the achievement on 7 August, the Scottish Government made a statement stating that the country’s ability to provide abundant energy resources is vital to maintaining the secure delivery of electricity supply across the UK and highlighted its ongoing support of low-carbon technologies.
“We have a clear policy for an energy mix to provide energy security for the future and will set out our ambitions for an integrated approach to low carbon technologies within our draft energy strategy later this year. This will include exploring the option of setting a new renewable energy target,” the statement said.
However, recent decisions made by the UK have been scrutinised as disrupting the development of the renewable energy industry with some government policies refusing to subsidise renewable energy over fossil fuels.
Despite this, Mueller remains optimistic about this milestone as well as Scotland’s continuing development in the field.
He stated: “This achievement demonstrates that renewable energy can make an effective contribution in meeting the UK electricity demand as part of a wider portfolio of electricity generators.
“It will give investors and project developers more confidence in the ability of renewables, wind energy in particular, to play a significant role in meeting UK electricity demand, contributing to security of supply.”
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