The UK’s largest onshore windfarm, Whitelee, has generated enough clean energy to provide almost 90 per cent of the total annual electricity consumed by households and businesses in Scotland, research has found.
An independent report into the windfarm, which lies on the outskirts of Glasgow, was carried out by energy consultants BVG Associates and concluded that the windfarm is a “national success story” according to owner Scottish Power Renewables.
The report into Whitelee also found:
- Whitelee produces enough energy per year to power all the electrical vehicles in the UK
- A single revolution of the blades on one Whitelee turbine produces enough energy to fully charge over 300 mobile phones
- Whitelee has saved over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions if compared to generation from fossil fuel
- Each day Whitelee can offset enough CO2 emissions to offset two days’ worth of each and every domestic flight to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airports
- Whitelee produces annual CO2 savings equivalent to 40,000 football pitches full of trees
Following the release of the report today (7 June), Scottish Power Renewables is calling on the government to bring forward legislation that supports the UK Committee on Climate Change’s target to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 when compared to 1990 levels.
Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables, said: “We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple if we are to deliver on net-zero.
“We also know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy and therefore should be part of Scotland, and the UK’s, low carbon, cost effective electricity system.
“If we are to meet the target of net-zero by 2050, our ambition has to be backed by political will and underpinned by legislation.
“Since the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008, a number of progressive policy measures have been put in place that has enabled Scotland to become coal-free.
“Working with industry and government, the same approach is now needed to ensure we can continue to invest in much needed renewable generation and thereby achieve this objective, and support action to tackle the climate emergency facing us.
“Whitelee is a great example of what effective policy can deliver. It’s a national success story. Every year it produces the equivalent clean energy to power each and every electric vehicle currently in the UK, preventing over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions had this energy come from fossil fuels.
“The decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems can all be achieved through existing technology but that has to include onshore wind if we are to decarbonise by 2050.”
Responding to the call on the government, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “We lead the world in tackling climate change, being the first country to introduce long-term legally-binding carbon reduction targets and cutting emissions further than all other G20 countries.
“The Committee on Climate Change’s report, commissioned by the government, now sets us on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely and we will respond in a timeframe which reflects the urgency of the issue.”
Whitelee represents a total lifetime investment of £1.5 billion by Scottish Power Renewables and makes an “essential contribution to the Scottish and UK economy”, according to the company.
The study further shows that over the life of the windfarm, it will boost the UK economy by over £1 billion, with over £790 million in Scotland.
During its peak years of construction the project supported more than 4,000 jobs and currently sustains around 600 jobs every year through the operation and maintenance of the windfarm – creating the equivalent earnings in Scotland of £512 million (£670 million UK-wide) over the lifetime of the windfarm.