Renewable energy generated from wind farms in Britain has prevented the creation of around 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the last six years according to a new study has revealed. The low-carbon energy generated from wind farms equated to removing 2.3 million cars from the roads. The research was published just days after UK wind farms logged a record output, by generating more than 10,000MW of electricity for the first time.
The analysis used real output figures from the National Grid from 2008 to 2014 and the researchers believe that they have created a comprehensive picture of energy demand from various sources. Engineers suggested that government figures have underestimated the carbon savings of wind farms in Britain by more than 3m tonnes and that their methodology could be applied to create more accurate estimates of future emissions savings and readings for energy developers, planner and policymakers.
Until now, the impact of clean energy from wind farms was not clear. The findings show that wind plays an effective role in reducing emissions that would otherwise be generated from conventional sources and that wind generation has a key role to play in helping to meet Britain’s demand for power in the future.
The Engineers suggested that the data should lead to greater investment into wind energy, to enable the Scottish and UK Governments to meet carbon emission reduction targets. Scotland has been leading the charge on this front, with wind farms managing to generate 100% of the country’s energy demand for two full days in September this year. The Government is also being called upon to build upon the progress with the renewable electricity target by setting a 50% renewables target for all energy needs by 2030. Research from Scottish Renewables has suggested that the share of renewables in the energy mix – which currently sits at 15% – could reach 25% by 2020.
The figures in the study highlight just one example of the many benefits that have come from shifting the electricity system to a clean renewable one however, with electricity generation accounting for less than a quarter of climate change emissions, it is vital that there is an increase in the use of renewables in our heat and transport sectors. Currently, the UK is not even halfway towards achieving the target of 12% of energy needs for heat generation coming from renewable sources, while the proportion of renewable energy used in transport has fallen, from 4.9% to 4.2% over the past year.