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03 April 2017

Monday 3 April 2017


+ New March record set for total wind power output in Scotland

+ Wind power output jumps by over four-fifths compared to the same period last year

+ Political parties urged to keep backing onshore wind power in Scotland

Political parties in Scotland need to continue to back onshore wind power if carbon emissions are to be cut in the most cost-effective way, said environmentalists today (Monday 3 April).

The call by WWF Scotland comes as the group published data revealing that wind turbines in Scotland set a new March record for the total amount of power sent to the National Grid since records began. [1]

Analysis by WWF Scotland of wind power data provided by WeatherEnergy found for the month of March that:

  • Wind turbines in Scotland provided 1,240,095MWh of electricity to the National Grid, enough to supply, on average, the electrical needs of 136% of Scottish households (3.3 million homes) – this represents an increase of 81% compared to that of March 2016, when wind energy provided 684,632MWh.
  • The 1,240,095MWh of electricity sent to the National Grid by wind farms in Scotland represents a new record for an entire month of March. The previous highest recorded March output figure was in 2015, when 1,006,018MW was sent to the grid. **Note: This is a new record for the month of March only. Other months of the year have recorded higher total outputs.**
  • Scotland’s total electricity consumption (i.e. including homes, business and industry) for March was 2,146,872MWh. Wind power therefore generated the equivalent of 58% of Scotland’s entire electricity needs for the month.
  • On two separate days (Friday 17th and Sunday 19th) wind turbines generated output equivalent to more that Scotland’s total power needs for each entire day – equivalent to 102% and 130% of each day’s demand, respectively.

WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said:

“Given this March wasn’t as windy as it has been in some previous years, this year’s record output shows the importance of continuing increase capacity by building new wind farms. As well as helping to power our homes and businesses, wind power supports thousands of jobs and continues to play an important role in Scotland’s efforts to address global climate change by avoiding millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

“However, the UK Government’s decision to end support for onshore wind is going to make meeting our international climate obligations much harder in the future. [2] The reality is that if we’re serious about cutting carbon pollution in the most cost-effective way, then we need every one of the political parties in Scotland to back the continued deployment of onshore wind power.

“It’s only with political backing for onshore wind from all of the parties that Scotland will be able to maximise the benefits to its economy, as we transition to a renewable future.”

Karen Robinson of WeatherEnergy said:

“It’s massively impressive how Scotland has steadily grown its wind power output of the years. The total output from turbines this March was up more than four-fifths compared to the same period last year. This was enough power to provide the equivalent of the electrical needs of over three million homes. More importantly, it meant the equivalent of almost three-fifths of Scotland total electricity needs during March were met by onshore wind power.”

Notes to Editors:

[1] Part of a joint project to help the public better understand the nation’s renewable energy resource, the data is provided by WeatherEnergy, and is part of the European EnergizAIR project, supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, led by the European Agency for Competiveness and Innovation (EACI). The project currently has partners in ten European countries. Severn Wye Energy Agency is the UK partner.

Wind data for March 2017

Production (MWh)

Equivalent number of households potentially provided

% of households



3.2 million homes

136% (of Scottish households)

For the two days where wind power output was greater than 100% of total demand:


Power sent to the National Grid by wind turbines in Scotland (MWh)

Total power demand in Scotland (MWh)

% of Scotland’s total power needs met by wind

Friday 17 March




Sunday 19 March





  • Maximum wind output was on 19 March, when generation was an estimated 70,372MWh, enough to supply 5.8million homes – equivalent to 239% of all Scottish households.
  • Minimum wind output was on 27 March, when generation was an estimated 12,644MWh, enough to supply 1.0million homes – equivalent to 43% of all Scottish households.

In generating the monthly report, the following assumptions are made:

Average annual Scottish household electricity consumption - 4,435 kWh (this figure is greater than the UK average)

Number of households in Scotland - 2.42 million.

Total annual electricity consumption in Scotland is 25,873GWh, of which 41% is domestic and 59% is non-domestic.

Average solar PV installation - 3kW

Average hot water (thermal) installation - 4.62m2

Average household daily hot water consumption - 122 litres

For wind power, live wind energy output data is aggregated from nearly 8 GW of currently running wind farms in the UK, together with data from UKWED which shows the capacity of wind energy installed in each UK region. Government data is used to provide the capacity factor of wind energy in each region. All of this data is combined by WeatherEnergy’s EnergizAIR computer model to produce a realistic estimate of how much energy has been generated by the wind turbines in each region, it then converts this into how many homes could have been provided by energy from wind power.

Further technical information can be found here:

[2] The main support mechanisms for large-scale renewable electricity projects in the UK, The Renewables Obligation (RO), closed to new generation capacity last week (Friday 31 March 2017)


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