Wind turbines have always attracted negative controversy in Scotland, with some people commenting on them by saying they are an eyesore on the environment. However, others actually consider them as a symbol of Scotland’s forward-thinking outlook on the green energy sector. However, this argument is now set to strengthen as there are movements being made to almost double the size of wind turbines which are approaching the end of their lifespans, according to a recently published report. These plans have also caused environmental concerns as it could potentially cause even more disruption to the country’s peatland, which most of the wind turbines are constructed on.
The Environmental Benefits Outweigh The Impact
However, Professor Susan Waldron, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, said that while the damage to peatland is severe, the “payback time”, i.e. the time it takes before the wind turbines come with environmental benefits, is usually between 2 to 3 years compared to the lifespan of a wind turbine.
The report reveals that as wind turbines draw close to the end of their lifetime (which is normally about 25 years), they need to be upgraded or completely replaced using a process that is known as repowering. The existing wind turbines would then be increased in height from 100 metres to approximately 170 metres to help harness more wind power.
The report also revealed that Scotland is home to more than 3,200 operational onshore wind turbines, with a further 2,300 either awaiting planning permission or currently under construction. Green energy accounted for approximately 60% of Scotland’s gross annual energy consumption in 2015, which is a staggering 12% increase from just 12% in 2000, with the majority of this increase attributed to wind power and the renewable energy industry.
Scotland’s Wind Energy Sector
Scotland’s wind energy sector has been enjoying an impressively record-shattering 2018. Onshore wind turbine generated a staggering 5,353,997MWh during the first 3 months of the year, providing enough electricity to power approximately five million homes, and prompting experts from the renewable energy industry to hail the first quarter as an “incredible” achievement for wind power in Scotland.
In fact, households in Scotland have reduced their emissions footprint and energy consumption by an average of 25% in the past eight years, thanks to the growth of renewable green energy, and improved energy efficiency measures, making this an exciting time for the renewable energy industry and wind power as a renewable energy source for the entire United Kingdom.