Scottish Power has announced it plans to put solar panels and batteries next to its wind turbines up and down the country. Their plan is to ‘squeeze maximum potential’ from clean energy sources to help the UK hit net zero carbon. Scotland is on the verge of a power revolution from the sun since the energy giant disclosed their plans.
Scottish Power are developing more than 1,000MW of new onshore wind capacity. Plans have begun for a major expansion of onshore windfarm projects across Scotland. Almost 100 sites for a new generation of windfarm have been considered by the renewable energy arm of this big six power supplier. The idea for the new generation of wind farms is to use a smaller number of more powerful wind turbines and to fit with solar panels and batteries to generate clean electricity. Although most of the sites are in Scotland a few are being considered in Ireland.
Permission is being sought to build its first solar power projects beneath the blades of its existing windfarms in Cornwall, Lancashire and Coldham.
This major breakthrough for renewable electricity in the UK was revealed at the global climate emergency summit in Madrid and will mean that electricity will be produced even when the wind doesn’t blow as light will be harnessed instead.
Depending on whether ground conditions are suitable for panels, Scottish Power hopes to include solar panels in the vast majority of its future onshore windfarms across Scotland and Ireland.
Keith Anderson, the Scottish Power’s chief executive, said:
“Every green megawatt of electricity will be crucial if we stand any chance of hitting net zero in 2050. This means squeezing the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project that we consider. This means squeezing the absolute maximum potential out of every clean energy project that we consider. In the UK and Ireland, the perfect blend of clean power from onshore renewables should include a mixture of clean energy technologies.”
According to the Committee on Climate Change, though Scottish Power is developing more than 1,000MW of new onshore wind capacity, the UK will need to build at least this capacity of onshore wind every year for the next three decades if it hopes to meet its 2050 climate targets. CCC believes that this steady rollout is necessary, in addition to building offshore windfarms at four times the present rate.
Keith Anderson said:
“As well as retrofitting additional technologies to existing sites, as we are already doing, our strategy going forward will see us deliver hybrid projects as standard. In the next 18 months I believe hybrids will be the new normal for all renewable energy developers. The costs for building wind, solar and batteries have reduced considerably in recent years, and they complement each other very well. They perform best at different times of the day and at different times of the year.”
Scottish Power believe that in some cases, adding 10MW panels and 10MW of energy storage could double the green energy capacity of small windfarm sites.
The new strategy comes one year after ScottishPower became the first integrated energy company in the UK to solely generate 100 per cent renewable energy.
ScottishPower is owned by Spanish giant Iberdrola, which has invested in major solar power stations, in places generally sunnier than Scotland. Putting solar, battery and wind resources together should reduce both the impact and cost of such developments.
Solar is already a prominent feature in Spain, the US, Mexico and Brazil for the wider Iberdrola group,
The largest solar project currently under construction in Europe is the 500MW Nunez de Balboa solar scheme in the south of Spain.
Plans for a 50-Megawatt battery at the UK’s largest wind farm, Whitelee, outside Glasgow have already been approved by the Scottish Government.
Although Glasgow is known to be one of Europe’s darkest cities much of Scotland enjoys long, light days in the summer when there is less wind.
Bids have been made by both Glasgow and Edinburgh to become Britain’s first net zero carbon cities.
Lindsay McQuade, the chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said:
“Scottish Power is developing an ambitious pipeline of onshore renewables that could deliver investment, create jobs and power our lives in the most economical way possible – if the commitment of net zero is to be a reality, I expect to see support from government to match it. There is broad political consensus to decarbonise our economy as rapidly as possible so that we live and work in a clean, green and sustainable manner. We expect cross-party commitment to deliver a viable route to market for onshore wind, the cheapest form of new electricity generation.”
Scotland has long been tipped as a renewable energy powerhouse, though more because of its wind and tides than because of its sunshine.
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