With the devastating news that Earth Overshoot Day came this past August 8, the earliest it has ever been in history, it’s becoming abundantly clear that changes need to be made. Thankfully, there is news that suggests a global shift is within reach.
High winds at speeds of up to 185 kilometers per hour struck Scotland last week, allowing for the renewable energy sector to reach a major milestone.
For all of Sunday, the northern nation was able to be powered solely through wind turbines. This marks the first time on record that wind power has been able to generate more electricity than the country used up in a single day.
The intense weather resulted in travel disruption, with bridges closed and ferries and trains canceled. While inconvenient for some, it still helped boost the country’s renewable energy production.
“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,” WWF Scotland director Lang Banks explained.
“This major moment was made possible thanks in part to many years of political support, which means that across the year now renewables 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.
“While it’s not impossible that this has happened in the past, it’s certainly the first time since we began monitoring the data in 2015 that we’ve had all the relevant information to be able to confirm it. However, on the path to a fully renewable future, this certainly marks a significant milestone.”
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The energy generation figures supplied by WeatherEnergy and analyzed by WWF Scotland discovered that, while the country consumed about 37,202 megawatt-hours of energy, including all domestic, business, and industry, 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.
The important and impressive milestone for the country follows in the footsteps of other northern European countries like Denmark, who broke the world energy record last year, generating more than 42 percent of its electricity through wind power alone. The country aims to increase this to 50 percent by 2030.
Scotland has goals, too. The country plans to build the world’s largest floating wind farm, called Hywind, to be installed 25 kilometers off Scotland’s easternmost point by the Norwegian energy company Statoil. The plan’s five giant floating turbines will generate enough power to produce 135-gigawatt hours of electricity each year. That’s about enough to power 20,000 homes, which will be moved to the Scottish mainland with the use of anchored undersea cables.
Scotland is certainly on the right track, especially given the fact that a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that wind power generation has the potential to be at least as cheap as natural gas power plants.
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