UK wind farms prevented release of almost 36 million tonnes of emissions between 2008-2014

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 December 2016 in News

Power generated by wind farms the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road

Wind turbine - credit: Holyrood

Power generated by UK wind farms prevented the release of almost 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2014, according to a new study from the University of Edinburgh.

The research, which found the power generated by wind farms was the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road, was based in analysis of National Grid figures for the power generated by various sources including wind, coal and gas.

The study, which detailed generator energy output figures for every half hour, to establish how demand was met by the various sources, has been billed as the most detailed research to date.


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Dr Camilla Thomson, from the University of Edinburgh's School of Engineering, who led the study, said: "Until now, the impact of clean energy from wind farms was unclear. Our findings show that wind plays an effective role in curbing emissions that would otherwise be generated from conventional sources, and it has a key role to play in helping to meet Britain's need for power in future."

Researchers suggested wind power generation could play an increasingly important role in the future energy mix, which could also include carbon capture and storage, marine and nuclear power.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It's great to finally have an independent and authoritative study that puts a more accurate figure on the massive amounts of climate-damaging carbon emissions being avoided thanks to wind power. 

“We've long known that wind power and other renewables were making a major contribution to reducing carbon pollution, but it's fantastic to learn more clearly just how huge that contribution is. 

“The figures in the study highlight just one example of the many benefits that have come from shifting our electricity system to a clean renewable one. However, with electricity generation accounting for less than a quarter of our climate change emissions, it’s now time to begin to reap the same benefits by increasing the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors. 

“In Scotland, Ministers need to build upon the massive progress that has come from setting a target for renewable electricity, by setting a 50 per cent renewables target for all our energy needs by 2030. Independent research has shown that such a target is not only needed, but that it is achievable.”

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