Wind Energy in Scotland


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Wind Energy - The Facts
Public Attitudes and Community Participation in Windfarm Development in Scotland

Wind Energy in Scotland - An Overview

Scotland is the windiest country in Europe, with around 25% of the continent's wind resource. Onshore wind farm developments have grown steadily over the past decade, and with an installed capacity of over 2GW wind now accounts for more than half the installed renewable generation capacity in Scotland. The price has been radical changes to the skyline in many areas, and opposition from local groups and some councils to windfarm developments is mounting year on year. Ironically, many of the 'big guns' on the objectors' side are brought to bear by environmental organisations, to the usual crys of 'NIMBY'.

Attention is now increasingly turning towards our offshore wind resource. Scotland's offshore engineering skills gained from from decades of oil and gas exploration in the North Sea are perfectly suited to the manufacture, installation and maintenance of offshore renewables projects. Plans to build 10 wind farms off the coast of Scotland moved a step forward in February 2009 after the Crown Estate gave companies the green light to explore the sites. These offshore wind farms have the potential to generate 6GW of power if approved.

Offshore wind is not without its opponents however. 'Offshore' in some areas seems to mean turbines almost on the beach, and there is concerted local opposition to developments in the Solway Firth and off the Mull of Kintyre*, with considerable opposition to the Argyll Array off Tiree as well. The Scottish government is however taking an interest in Statoil's floating turbine 'Hywind' project, designed for deepwater deployment, and it is possible that finally an offshore wind solution wil be found that raises no objections from anyone. All that remains then are issues of distributing and/or storing the electricity from a variable source.

*Scottish and Southern Energy abandoned their plans for the Kintyre Array on March 1st 2011, saying the location was too close to local communities and Campbeltown airport and would disrupt recreational sailing.

Wind Energy in Scotland - Information Links

Offshore Wind Scotland
Developed by HIE, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Government in consultation with others, it includes a DVD, case studies, news stories and an interactive map showing the offshore wind sites, key infrastructure and current projects.
Scotland's Offshore Wind Route Map
The culmination of the work undertaken by the Offshore Wind Industry Group, setting out the opportunities, challenges and the priority recommendations for action for the sector to realise Scotland‟s full potential in offshore wind. PDF.
The Growth of Wind Power
HIE article on the growth of windpower in Highland region, including details of the Beatrice field offshore turbines, deployed in deep water and currently the largest in the world.
Whitelee Wind Farm
Whitelee Windfarm is Scotland's largest onshore windfarm and is located on Eaglesham Moor just 20 minutes from central Glasgow. The windfarm has 140 turbines which have a total capacity of 322MW.
Community and Co-Operatively Owned Wind Development
Community windpower means most of the power is used locally with a modest surplus being exported to the grid. Many see this as the best use of windpower, with fewer problems than those posed by large scale development.
UK power generation by fuel type
This table is an extract from the BMRS website, which provides near real time and historic data about the Balancing Mechanism which is used by the National Grid as a means of balancing power flows on to and off the grid.
Wind power in Scotland
Wikipedia article, somewhat limited in scope.
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