Wind Energy in Scotland

Whitelee Wind Farm Scotland

Providing electricity for the world’s population consumes quite a bit of energy. A lot of that energy is from coal and fossil fuels, things that will eventually be depleted on this Earth.

Will it happen within your lifetime?  Many people do not want to find out.  Therefore, other forms of power have been investigated and are in fact in use all over the world, with one of the most natural forms being that of wind power.

Wind energy’s history got its start several thousand years BC.  The ancient people of Egypt harnessed the wind through the use of sails on boats. Then, windmills were used in ancient Persia to process grain. So, as you can see, even our ancestors instinctively knew the value of wind power.

Wind Power Capacity

Data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that in 2020, China led the world with an electricity capacity from wind power of 282,113 MW with the United States at 118,731 MW capacity.

In Europe, Germany is the front-runner in using wind power for producing electricity, followed by Spain, the UK and France.

However, the country that has seen an explosive growth in wind power is Scotland.

Home to the UK’s largest onshore wind farm at Whitelee, 70% of electricity generated in Scotland comes from onshore wind. In addition, offshore wind is the third-largest source of electricity generation.

Whitelee Windfarm in Scotland - and impressive project, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm

Situated just twenty minutes from Glasgow, Whitelee Wind Farm is home to 215 wind turbines with an electricity generation capacity of up to 539 MW.

The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, situated off Scotland’s Caithness coast, consists of 84 wind turbines with an electricity generation capacity of 588 MW.

Defining Wind Power

Wind power is the transformation of wind energy into forms that we can use, such as electricity. Wind turbines capture this wind, which rotates the blades on the turbine to create an electrical current through a generator device.

Wind power is a clean renewable energy.  There are no greenhouse gases created as a result of turbine operation, and toxic emissions are negligible.

These wind turbines are found on land as well as near shore, just a few miles out in the water near the coastlines as well as far offshore.

Offshore is the most successful as there is no land to create a buffer for the wind.

Advantages of Wind Power in Scotland

Why is Scotland leading the UK in renewable energy? | ITV News

Because the country of Scotland is surrounded by water on three sides, this country is the perfect location in which to harness wind power for their electrical needs.

While some wind power is intermittent due to changing winds, in Scotland, the northern and west coasts consistently receive about forty-five percent more wind than other regions.

In fact, one of the first wind farms in Scotland with just a few wind turbines achieved about sixty percent capacity within one year, a remarkable feat for a wind farm.

Wind Farm Opposition

There is some controversy in regard to wind power in Scotland, however.  Many people feel that wind farms would be a blight on the beautiful Scottish countryside.

Plus, some people argue that near shore and offshore wind turbine produce far more power than those on land.  While this is true, it is far more expensive to install wind turbines offshore.

However, that hurdle seems to have been jumped by the vast number of wind farms in the country. The most likely reason is that the offshore installation potential could be more than enough to power half the country in electricity!

Wind power as a whole is gaining popularity not only because it is a lot more environmentally friendly, but also because it creates an independence from other sources of energy.

In addition, with the price of oil and gas these days and the volatile Middle East, there may be a day when you might want to be free of that dependence on a power source.

Scotland is unique in that the country has a number of viable renewable energy sources just waiting to be untapped.  Perhaps that is why the country has seen such huge growth in wind power.